On behalf of the Government and the people of Kenya, I thank the African Association of Public Servants for their consideration and the recognition of the efforts we are making to transform public service in Kenya. We do not take this Gold Award for granted. The feeling we have, on being commended for innovation in public administration and management in Africa is simply incomparable.
The effort that has earned us this invaluable recognition is an initiative that is at the heart of my Government’s agenda.
For decades, public service had lagged behind the needs and expectations of a growing Nation hoping to compete and win against the best in the world.
From the patriotic, selfless, transparent and effective public service of the early independence years, we now had lethargic, ineffective offices. Bureaucracy in Kenya acquired a negative connotation associated with corruption and frustration. Government had lost a bit the momentum and disappointed our people.
My Government is deeply committed to delivering on its mandate to transform Kenya and make it a better place to live, work, visit and do business. All these commitments entail the efforts of many arms, institutions and agencies of Government.
Without exception, however, these commitments are realised through the executive function of the State. It was clear as we assumed office and formed Government that Kenyans were groaning at the wasteful, unsatisfactory public sector. It was also abundantly obvious that somewhere along the way, “service” had been forgotten, or eliminated from Public Servant.
Without the spirit of service, Government becomes raw power that works against the people. Without service in its best expression, Government becomes obstructive instead of being the facilitator and supporter of the people’s aspirations. The Constitution states that public office is a trust that must be executed in a value-based manner to satisfy the people’s needs. It must demonstrate and bring honour to the people of Kenya.
My Government therefore embarked on an initiative aimed at delivering services to the people transparently and without delay.
We are aware that a transformative socioeconomic agenda is difficult to, achieve without a transformed public service. To eliminate wastage, duplication, corruption, delay and discrimination, we have brought Government services to a transparent arena where service and satisfaction are the only considerations.
We have eliminated all excuses and opportunities for corruption and delay. We have also digitised Government information and delivered many services through online platforms.
Most importantly, the Huduma Integrated Service now delivers 35 Government services at a single point. When people go to a Huduma Centre, they find a one-stop shop where their needs are met with courtesy, consideration and professionalism. They meet Government eager to serve them and deliver to the best international standards. They encounter service at its best.
The public reception of Huduma Integrated Service demonstrates that excellent public service is an essential need of nations aiming for socioeconomic transformation.
The number of people turning up to take advantage of the efficiency and speed of Huduma Centres has compelled us to accelerate the spread of this Service to all parts of the country.
Since 2013, we have set up 18 centres in various parts of the country by June 2016, we will have a centre in every county and every constituency.
My Government is transforming the way in which public service and Government office is viewed. Service is not a favour. Service is the essence of our mandate.
We must deliver service to the people quickly, professionally and effectively. The opportunity to serve is a great opportunity that we must honour at all times. This is the spirit of Huduma. We are just beginning. But we are greatly encouraged by the impact so far, and are determined to rapidly transform Government service for good.
This recognition has inspired me and my Government to work even harder and deliver to our people.
I ask the African Association of Public Servants to keep observing us as we go along, because we are fully committed to succeeding. I thank you for recognising and commending the team of dedicated professionals who have injected freshness into public service.
Indeed, I am quite proud of all the officers who have made Huduma Centres the home of solutions and place to go for every user of Government services. Let us keep up the good work. I want all public servants, irrespective of rank, to fully embrace the spirit of service in thought and word and deed.
This is essential for Kenyans to achieve their aspirations. It is time to work, and it is time to serve.
I thank you for this great honour and commit my Government to the achievement of the best standards of public service delivery as we proceed towards Vision2030.
May God bless you all.