Outstanding public officers and institutions were on Thursday, feted during the 4th edition of the Huduma Ombudsman Award ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
During the event graced by Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, who represented President William Ruto, Precious Dama Randu, the assistant County Commissioner Matsangoni, Kilifi County emerged the winner in the Public Service Delivery Category; individual category.
The National Council for Law Reporting and the Kenya Revenue Authority emerged winners in the institutional category of the Public Service Delivery Category and Access to Information Category respectively.
Randu was awarded for distinction in efficiency, innovation, and servanthood in public service within the public administration sector.
She is credited for social inclusivity programs she has initiated in the area that has ensured marginalized groups, including special needs individuals and the elderly, have access to vital government services.
Notably, Randu collaboration with various government agencies and private institutions facilitated mobile outreaches, enabling the registration of 830 special needs persons for birth certificates and enrolling 1,456 individuals for national identity cards.
It was noted that her efforts also addressed challenges faced by elderly citizens in accessing programs like the Inua Jamii program, providing logistical support and medical assistance.
Recognizing educational barriers, Randu spearheaded campaigns such as “Return to School for pregnant girls and young mothers, significantly reducing school dropout rates and re-enrolling young mothers in secondary education.
Additionally, her support for vulnerable groups, such as HIV/AIDS victims, widows, and persons with disabilities (PWDs), is evident through skills training programs and facilitating their access to government funds, enabling economic empowerment.
Her relentless dedication to community welfare is further highlighted in her proactive efforts against drug abuse, conducting successful raids on illegal drug farms and illicit brews, showcasing her commitment to public safety.
The National Council for Law Reporting was awarded for advancing the rights of citizens through the provision of timely, accurate, and free legal information.
Kenya Law has implemented policies enabling free access to public legal information, aligning with national and international calls for transparency and digitalization of government services.
The Kenya Law website serves as a key platform for various legal resources such as case law, statutes, parliamentary data, and select publications, all available at no cost to users.
Additionally, Kenya Law developed and maintains a Bill tracker, offering real-time updates on the status of bills within parliamentary assemblies.
Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter
It also provides value-added services by identifying legal issues and discrepancies in judicial reasoning, reporting them to relevant state agencies for necessary action, including passing pertinent information to County Assemblies.
Kenya Revenue Authority on the other hand was awarded for leveraging technology to effectively meet information needs and better serve its huge customer base.
The authority provides critical information supports stakeholders requesting information, and monitors to ensure that all Access to Information requests are processed within 21 days and has proactively disclosed information through its online platforms, including the KRA website, KRA TV, and social media platforms.
The Ombudsman Valour Award went to Police officer Julius Karanja Irungu attached to Kotulo-Wajir, Special Operations Group (SOG) station.
Karanja was awarded for heroic services to the nation at great personal cost after he completely lost his sight as a result of the fragments from the improvised explosive device during a suspected Al-Shabaab attack.
The Ombudsman Valour Award is dedicated to members of the disciplined forces for heroic acts in service to our country.
This category was introduced to honour those who serve in the disciplined forces, several of who make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our liberties.
According to Florence Kajuju, is the chairperson of the Commission on Administrative Justice (Office of the Ombudsman), the Huduma Ombudsman Award is one of the approaches the Commission has adopted to enhance accountability and responsiveness in the public service as well as promote compliance with administrative justice and access to information.
“The broad objective of the award is to reward the contributions of a public officer or a public institution that lead to a more effective, accountable and responsive public service.” Kajuju said during the ceremony.
The award ceremony also saw 13 outstanding public officers from various sectors.
In the institutional category for Public Service Delivery and Access to Information Categories saw Huduma Kenya and Kenya Revenue Authority emerging position two and three respectively in the Public Service Delivery Category with the National Cancer Institute and Kenya Year Book Editorial Board (KYBEB) emerging position two and three in the Access to Information Category.
Huduma Kenya was awarded for innovatively reaching out to citizens through “Huduma Mashinani”, Service by Appointment Platforms, and redefining efficiency in public service delivery with KRA being awarded for leveraging on technology, public education campaigns and alternative dispute resolution.
The Ugatuzi Award Category also saw four governors being awarded for championing devolution.
Homabay Governor, Gladys Wanga was recognized for advocating for climate change and open governance.
Her county is at the forefront of enhancing access to information at the county level.
Wanga launched the Climate Information Centre in October 2023, which is used to collect, analyze, and disseminate climate data on variables such as temperature, rainfall, wind, soil moisture, lake conditions, and extreme weather indicators.
Her Embu counterpart Cecil Mbarire was recognized for promoting access to information for enhanced public service delivery with Embu being among the pioneering counties in the domestication of the Access to Information law and is currently further localizing the law in accordance with section 96(3) of the County Governments Act, 2012.
The county has also in partnership with Fahamu initiated an Open County platform that provides access to information about county budgets and documents.
Through the digital platform known as the Embu Open Governance Interactive Platform, the residents of Embu can engage in public participation using their phones.
Governor Mutula Kilonzo Junior and Irungu Kanga’ata of Makueni and Murang’a counties respectively were also feted under the Ugatuzi Category.
Kilonzo Junior was recognised for leveraging on technology and innovation for enhanced transparency and social accountability.
The county has established an online platform to manage its development budget.
Kang’ata, was recognized for digitization of county government services for improved transparency and efficiency. Under his leadership.
The county has endeavoured to automate and digitize its key government services, aiming to ensure effective and efficient service delivery.