Opinion

Systemic blunders and missteps in policy formulation spoil economy

Systemic blunders and missteps in policy formulation spoil economy
  • As an enquiry into the nature of the problem that public policy seeks to address, policy research for acquisition of data is a critical element in policy development.

  • Every policy must be informed by data to establish the viability of the solutions proposed, consistency of the outlined interventions, evaluation of alternatives, and prediction of possible outcomes.

  • We must stand up for policies that promote humanity. Any single public policy decision made today fundamentally determines the course of life tomorrow.

Devolution, in its form and substance, was robustly canvassed in the making of the 2010 Constitution.

It was proudly received by Kenyans who had borne the brunt of concentrated executive power, as the ultimate antidote to the skewed distribution of national resources that mainly depended on patronage, cronyism and tribal affiliations to the man in power.

PEOPLE-CENTRED

However, the spirit was immediately dimmed after county governments effectively came into operation. This is because they were riddled with unbridled corruption, nepotism, ineptitude and arbitrary and unilateral decision making.

This unilateral decision making on behalf of the people has been one of the most fundamental springs of the failure of the county governments to effectively and efficiently provide public services.

It therefore goes without saying that public policy is at the nerve centre of running any nation. It cuts across all spheres of governance; economically, socially and politically.

Climate change, environmental conservation, healthcare, security, education, and agriculture, among others, are important global policy issues.

However, touted as the most economically and socially flourishing devolved unit, Makueni County is an outstanding testimony of what people-centred, need-based, practical and innovative public policy decision and implementation can do in transforming the lives of the people.

From the ultra-modern Mother and Child Hospital with 200 bed capacity in Wote, the state-of-the-art Kalamba Fruit Processing Plant to other magnificent infrastructural milestones, Makueni County has redefined service delivery.

This is because it has adhered to the conventional but basic tenets underpinning progressive public policy development. That is, bottom-up public participation approach, empirical evidence informing the process, and responsiveness to the needs of gender equality.

LEGAL REGIME

Article 10 (2) (a) of the Constitution and the Fourth Schedule Part 2 (14), stipulate public participation as a function of county governments. Further, Section 87 and 115 of the County Government Act, 2012 outline the principles and framework of public participation.

Even though there is an existence of a legal regime to put public participation into operation, most county governments have stopped at nothing but tremendous failure in fulfilling this solemn mandate.

It is important that bureaucrats who make public policies on behalf of the wananchi pose and ponder the magnitude of the effects that those policies have on the people.

It would be imperative then that those whom the policy is going to affect are involved in every possible stage of the policy development and implementation for their input extensively enriches policy decisions.

This will not only inspire a sense of belonging, it will also be the basis for project prioritisation in accordance with the needs of the locals, building of consensus and coming up with people-centred innovative solutions. Makueni has designed a participation framework tailor-made to suit the respective groups of people and their demographics within the county and its outcome has been amazing.

As an enquiry into the nature of the problem that public policy seeks to address, policy research for acquisition of data is a critical element in policy development.

Every policy must be informed by data to establish the viability of the solutions proposed, consistency of the outlined interventions, evaluation of alternatives at hand, and prediction of possible outcomes.

EQUALITY GAP

While we struggle with the ramifications of gender inequality, it is increasingly becoming clear that most public policies in place are insensitive to the women gender. And yet, we cannot achieve sustainable socioeconomic development when almost half of the population is still lagging behind in almost all spheres of life.

In order to mainstream our women in governance, public policy decisions must seek to bridge the existing gender equality gap. Hence, breaking the structural hindrances erected by gender insensitive policies is key in promoting women’s growth socio-economically.

Either intentionally designed to fail or occasioned by inevitable circumstances, the systemic blunders and missteps in policy formulation and implementation can be extremely detrimental. Hence, every single step must be handled with the interest of the public at heart.

We must stand up for policies that promote humanity. Any single public policy decision made today fundamentally determines the course of life tomorrow. County governments must take the lead in revolutionising public policies for the betterment of the people.

Mr Nyainda writes on topical issues.