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Address grey areas in Uhuru’s ban on new projects

By The Standard | Published Sat, July 28th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 27th 2018 at 22:55 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Confusion around President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent ban on new state projectsis gradually affecting service delivery.

Speaking on July 20, the President warned that any state officer who sanctions a project without authorisation would be held individually responsible.

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He was emphatic that even projects directly aligned to the ‘Big Four’ agenda must get written authorisation from National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and or Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge.

However, Uhuru’s veto is fraying at the edges due to lack of clarity. It did not offer  guidelines on what ‘new’ means, and whether a project conceived years back but launched now would be subjected to the ban.

Not even the National Treasury and accounting officers are aware of what’s within or outside the ban. Only yesterday, a Sh900m water project co-funded by the government was commissioned in Baringo. Last week, DP William Ruto launched the construction of Navakholo Kenya Medical Training Institute branch.

We urge Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua and State House to furnish accounting officers with vital information that draws a clear line in the government’s projects catalogue prescribing those that must be completed.   

Also, Uhuru’s order raises the spectre of more policy adjustments. In the wake of Jubilee’s ‘Big Four’ agenda, the taxpayer deserves to know what becomes of Vision 2030 and how it fits into the current dispensation. The new directive shouldn’t see gains evaporate.

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The state should ensure projects are undertaken on a priority basis. White elephants spread across the country that have sunk billions of shillings should also be completed without unnecessary delays.

Indeed, most, if not all, state agencies have perfected the habit of abandoning incomplete projects and “jumping” onto newones for countless reasons, including deal-cutting in tendering and procurement.

Now is the right time to go after state officials whose actions or inaction may have led to unnecessary project delays. The taxpayers shouldn’t be taken for granted anymore. The public yearns for quality services. Any state officer who stands on the way of public good deserves a place in our prisons.

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