It was an honorary experience for the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) through the Uwiano platform for peace to be part of this year’s Devolution conference. The event organized by the Council of Governors was held from 15th to 18th August, 2023, at Eldoret Sports Club in Uasin Gishu County. It marked ten years since inception. The theme for this year being, “The present and the future.”
The official inaugural ceremony was graced by His Excellency President William Samoei Ruto. During his address, President Ruto highlighted the pivotal role of devolution in empowering counties to fulfill their responsibilities. He also expressed a strong commitment to upholding good governance and taking decisive actions to combat corruption.
Being a national-wide commemoration, the conference served as a platform for government and non-governmental stakeholders from both county and national levels to convene. Over the course of the three days, the event featured a bustling array of activities, including product and service exhibitions at various booths, as well as participation in conferences and specialized breakout sessions. The commission utilized this opportunity to engage with the public, providing insights on its mandate, implementation strategies, and future engagements related to fostering peace and unity within the nation.
H.E. President William Ruto and the council of Governors pose for a photo during the official opening of the Devolution Conference on 15th August, 2023 at the Eldoret sports club in Uasin Gishu County.
The first day of the conference session covered effective service delivery in counties through performance management. This involved setting goals, monitoring progress, and making data-driven decisions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public services.
The key note speaker Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, the Executive chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for global change stressed on the critical role of performance management in county governments, ensuring accountability, transparency, and responsiveness. Effective alignment of objectives with citizen needs is achieved through clear, measurable goals. Data is important in collecting and analyzing for informed decision-making. Essential performance metrics include response times, project completion rates, and citizen feedback. Technology aids data management and accuracy through digital platforms. Skilled staff are crucial, requiring continuous training. Transparent reporting builds trust. Performance management is an ongoing process, fostering improvement and collaboration among counties for best practices.
The second day covered on digital economy and integration of technology in the devolved sectors for economic development. The Panelists covered on the integration of technology and digitization in devolved sectors offers benefits such as increased efficiency, data-driven decision-making, improved citizen services, and innovation. This leads to enhanced competitiveness, economic diversification, and job creation. To drive innovation through technology, strategies include building digital infrastructure, fostering skill development, promoting open data initiatives, supporting startups through innovation hubs, and encouraging public-private partnerships. These efforts collectively contribute to economic development, while stakeholder engagement and adaptable regulations play crucial roles in ensuring successful integration.
The final day, whose theme was good governance for equitable and sustainable development the objective was to assess how good governance practices contribute to equitable and sustainable development in decentralized units.
The panel discussion covered topics ranging from data gaps and accountability to corruption prevention, oversight, and sustainable development. The speakers highlighted the importance of addressing financing gaps, enhancing public participation, and involving various institutions and mechanisms to ensure good governance practices for equitable and sustainable development in devolved units.
Affirmative Action" theme aimed to ensure women, youth, and vulnerable groups in governance, focusing on monitoring implementation plans, impact assessments, gender frameworks, and adolescent-specific programs.
The closing ceremony resulted in various resolutions, including partnership synergy, legislative framework review, embracing digitization, enhancing revenue sources, promoting transparency, economic empowerment of marginalized groups, health programs for adolescents, land process automation, green housing, and urban development frameworks
NCIC Officials at the Devolution conference at Eldoret sports club, in Uasin Gishu County.
THE DEVOLUTION WARRIOR AWARDS
The awards were a splendid recognition and jubilation of the exceptional endeavors displayed by both individuals and institutions that have truly embodied the spirit of devolution in Kenya. The vibrant event was graced by esteemed senior state officials, representatives from the Council of Governors (CoG), and an array of other distinguished guests.
This year's award ceremony marked the second iteration since the inception of Devolution, which is conducted after every five years. The Devolution Warrior awards were of seven distinct categories: Njiwa (Dove), Tai (Eagle), Chui (Leopard), Nyati (Buffalo), Ndovu (Elephant), and Kifaru (Rhino) each symbolizing a unique facet of strength and dedication.
In her opening statements, NCIC vice chair Wambui Nyutu illuminated the significance of devolution in Kenya's voyage of progress, envisioning flourishing counties as engines propelling socio-economic advancement and top-notch service delivery. She showered praise upon forward-thinking leaders and extolled the collaborative endeavors of the Ministry of Interior, National Planning, and their partners in fostering harmonious co-existence.
NCIC vice chair, Wambui Nyutu delivering her opening remarks during the Devolution warrior awards dinner on 15th August, 2023 at the Eldoret sports club in Uasin Gishu County.
Her closing remarks included hearty congratulations to all the winners, with a special mention to the recipient of the Njiwa Award. The most prestigious accolade, the Simba (Lion) award, was bestowed upon the former Chairperson of the Council of Governors, Hon. Isaac Ruto, symbolizing his profound leadership.
The commission was represented by Director Millicent Okatch, accompanied by the Deputy Director of Corporate Communications, Ms. Olive Metet, and ensemble of commission officials, each contributing their unique harmony to the symphony of the occasion.