Vihiga County Strengthening Devolved Units
COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS
TEMPLATE FOR BEST PRACTICE SUBMITTAL DOCUMENT
Date: May 18, 2015
Submitter’s Name: Shem Sam
Strengthening Devolved Units
Brief Description of Practice
The Vihiga County Government has initiated unprecedented exercise aimed at strengthening devolved units and optimizing service delivery at the lower levels. The governor and his team realized that various sub-counties possess different economic strengths and needed more specialized attention to capitalize on the leverage. For instance, Luanda sub-county has competitive advantage in Trade, Industrialization and Tourism. As such, the county government has moved CEC Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ms Indira Clara, to Luanda together with her staff.
Vihiga sub-county on the other hand, has comparative advantage in agriculture.
Likewise, CEC Agriculture, Ms Halima Abdi, together with her staff has been moved to Vihiga sub-county. The county residents in these areas do not have to travel to county headquarters in matters related to Agriculture, Trade, Industry and Tourism.
Further still, CEC Youth, Sports, Gender and Culture Hon. Sande Mukuna, and entire team, are in the process of being moved to Hamisi sub-county.
At the end of this exercise only Public Service and Administration will remain at Mbale County Headquarters. In effect, Vihiga County Government has further decentralized its function in a manner that creates synergies in service delivery.
Why the practice was adopted
These areas specialize in specific economic activities and require more specialized attention. By relocating relevant CEC offices to these sub-counties, the county is able to engage wananchi at the lowest levels more effectively. In addition, the county government is able to monitor progress and effect interventions whenever necessary. The Vihiga County government also saw the need to reduce travelling cost and time to access these services.
Benefits of the practice
• Citizens at the lower levels access essential services.
• Timely intervention whenever need arises.
• Enhanced specialization
• Increased productivity
Challenges Associated with the practice
The major challenge faced is inadequate infrastructure in the sub-counties to accommodate CEC and her/his entire staff. For instance, relocation of Youth, Sports Gender and Culture to Hamisi sub-county is delayed for reasons of inadequate infrastructure. However, the county has a long-term approach of building enough infrastructures to cater to the changes. In the mean time, the staffs accompanying CEC have to use existing infrastructure.
How the success was measured
The success was measured in terms of: -
• Numbers of enquiries/visits made by residents before and after the practice.
• Productivity in terms of yield
• Number business licensed
• Number of finished products and services.
The COG Chairman
His Excellency Peter Gatirau Munya is the Governor of Meru County, and the current Chairman of the Council of Governors, Kenya .