Nairobi 24 January 2019 (ECA) - Several top Kenyan government officials, representatives of various unions and commissions, and heads of international organizations converged in Nairobi on 22 January to support the rollout of the Honest Public Service Campaign, dubbed Huduma Halisi (in Swahili) in Kenya.
Huduma Halisi is an initiative by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to promote a culture of transparency, accountability and integrity in the delivery of public services in African countries.
The concept aligns with the African Union’s (AU) 2018 call for continent-wide actions to win the fight against corruption as “a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation.” It was launched at the 2018 AU Heads of State and Government Summit in Mauritania where Kenya was chosen for the first country-level rollout.
“I extend our gratitude to the ECA for choosing Kenya as the continental pilot of the Honesty within the Public Service Campaign,” said Margaret Kobia, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender.
In her remarks during the event to kickstart the rollout, she described the Campaign as “a rallying call for our generation” to say no to corruption, choose honest, and celebrate honest public officers who offer exemplary service.
She stated, “My ministry undertakes to provide the stewardship of and support to the Campaign and will partner with stakeholders drawn from the Public Service Commission, the Commission on Administrative Justice, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Transparency International.”
Ms. Kobia pointed out that Huduma Halisi is a citizen-driven exercise “championed by H.E. the President” and co-championed at national level by heads of government ministries, departments and agencies, while governors are the county-level co-champions.
ECA’s executive secretary was represented at the event by the Commission’s principal regional advisor, Sylvain Boko who praised the government of Kenya for recognizing good public service as a “cornerstone of good governance.”
Mr. Boko said Kenya has done a “tremendous job” in aligning its national vision to the global sustainable development goals, noting that “ECA analysis for the period of 2008-2017 shows that Kenya has made improvements in the rule of law, accountability and transparency, personal safety, rights, gender empowerment, the business environment, welfare and education.”
He added, “It’s no surprise, therefore, that Kenya became ECA’s first partner on the continent for this rollout.”
The ECA official warned, however, that, “there appears to be a slowdown in infrastructure and health provision, and warning signs seem to exist in areas of participation, particularly in the rural sector, access to public and legislative information, lessened possibilities to sanction the abuse of office and public management.”
Cabinet Secretaries from the ministries of health and ICT also joint voices with partners and stakeholders from the Council of Kenyan Governors, Transparency International, Ford Foundation, and One Campaign to pledge their support for the Campaign.
Mr. Boko said the success of Huduma Halisi in Kenya “will pave the way for scaling up the experience to the rest of the continent.”
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