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Why 47 county governments should adopt Uhuru's Big Four

By Charles Kipkulei | Published Tue, January 16th 2018 at 00:02, Updated January 16th 2018 at 00:07 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta. [Photo: Courtesy]

Vision 2030 is Kenya’s long-term development plan anchored on social, political and economic pillars. It is intended to transform Kenya into an industrialised, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by the year 2030.

As the national development blueprint, Vision 2030 guides all other short- and medium-term development plans and strategies, including the Big Four agenda, which is President Uhuru Kenyatta's official legacy project.

The Big Four is built on four pillars - manufacturing, affordable housing, universal healthcare and food security for all Kenyans within the next five years. It is a compelling vision of transformation whose contributions towards the realisation of Vision 2030 are massive.

Whereas the Big Four is Uhuru’s legacy project, its prosperity dividends shall be shared for all Kenyans, and it therefore falls upon all Kenyans to support it.

Strong commitments have already come with supranationals like the World Health Organisation, multi-national companies, development partners and local investors, all affirming their commitments to this plan.

However, a greater part of the Big Four's success lies in the opportunity that devolution presents for its implementation.

County governments have emerged as the major platforms for development, with many of the functions under Schedule Four of the Constitution encompassing the Big Four’s pillars.

Devolved functions

Whereas the national government still retains the policy function in agriculture, housing, energy, health and national public works, it is worth noting that the relevant devolved functions with respect to the Big Four, including agriculture, county health services, county planning and housing, and energy regulation, inevitably situate counties as the primary arenas for the measurable implementation of the Big Four pillars.

It is therefore not only imperative but also inevitable that the national roll-out strategy for the Big Four prioritises devolved governments and seeks their commitments to support it. 

By utilising the devolution platform, the Big Four will become a national aspiration as this path also offers a practical way of curing the perception of exclusion in the distribution of national resources.

Key outcomes of the Big Four include 500,000 affordable housing units, over a million acres of land under irrigation and the setting up of industrial parks, which wil create millions of new job opportunities for unemployed Kenyans.

If this plan is rolled out in all 47 counties, it will guarantee reach and benefits to all Kenyans, and this will further strengthen Uhuru’s legacy because of the national cohesion benefit accruing from the shared prosperity dividend that it will provide.

It is evident at this point that there is sufficient goodwill from the President to see through the success of the Big Four. The great unexploited opportunity is for all 47 devolved governments to individually adopt the plan in their respective county development plans.

Grasp opportunity

The Council of Governors should therefore grasp this opportunity and immediately commence on talks with the national government towards realising the adoption of the Big Four by all 47 county governments. This will be in line with the CoG mantra of promoting the ideal of 48 governments and 1 nation.

A possible strategy could be through the setting up of a national Big Four implementation framework to clearly outline the overall national goals and outcomes of the legacy project, with a further breakdown of county-specific goals, outcomes, targets and deliverables.

It is also critical that the national government increases funding to the devolved units in order to realise the attainment of the Big Four project.

The lessons from nations that succeeded in attaining the Millennium Development Goals is that they took deliberate efforts to not only adopt and domesticate the plan, but also committed themselves to its implementation at country level.

Kenya is marching towards realising Vision 2030 and for the next five years, the Big Four is the biggest contributor towards the attainment of this dream.

If county governments support the Big Four, not only will we have reason to celebrate as a nation after five years but we will also have made giant steps towards realising the goal of Vision 2030 - becoming a globally competitive and prosperous nation.

 

Mr Kipkulei is a senior associate consultant with Sovereign Insight Ltd [email protected]


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