Kilifi has become the sixth county in Kenya to implement the County Spatial plan aimed at transforming counties into economic hubs.
The project was funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Kenya) which also provided the technical support through the mobilization of people for public participation and the establishment of a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) laboratory in the county while the Technical University of Kenya did the research work.
The other counties that have launched spatial plans are Lamu, Makueni, Baringo, Bomet and Kericho while others are still in the process of developing theirs.
Mrs. Esther Murugi, a Commissioner with the National Land Commission (NLC) said during the launch of the plan that it was a pity that ten years after devolution only six counties had developed spatial plans.
She added that the spatial plans will help counties in managing resources and developing their areas to spur economic growth.
According to Mrs. Murugi, NLC is supposed to oversee the implementation of the spatial plans every year and that the six counties will be the only ones to benefit from funds from the national treasury if the constitution 2010 was to be enforced fully. The NLC is also mandated to review the spatial plans every ten years.
“You can see the dilemma that the NLC who are supposed to oversee the implementation of the spatial plans, we have nothing really to oversee after ten years of devolution since we have only six counties. According to the County Government ACT 2012 section 104 it very clearly states that a county government shall plan for the county and no county funds shall be appropriated outside a planning framework developed by the County Executive Committee and approved by the county assembly. So imagine if the national government followed that tune, it is only six counties that will have access to funding from the national treasury,” she stated.
She also advised the county government to upload the spatial plan in their website for the public to access and also submit soft copies to the NLC to follow up on the implementation.
“Set up an implementation unit that is well resourced budget and human resource wise and get a professional champion to implement the process,” she said.
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said that his administration had laid down a firm foundation for developing the county and challenged the new regime that will succeed him to make good use of the spatial plan to develop the county.
“No department can say that they were left out of the process and this is a one stop shop where all departments can rely on in planning this county even in the budget making process. As the first government of this county, we have laid a firm foundation for the county and I believe that the team that will taking over should be able to bring development in an easy way because the tool has been developed.” he said.
He added that the GIS lab has all information on everything about the county and it is easier to do business with the county while using the lab.
“Today if you walk through that lab you will see how the rural place of Adu will be in the next ten years. This document needs to be resourced and the budgeting process comes in handy in implementing the plan,” he added.
Mr. Mohamed Awer, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WWF- Kenya challenged the county government to protect components of the spatial plan.
“We must make a sustainable investment plan so that the important ecosystem components captured in the plan are protected while assuring the aspiration of the development of the people of this county,” he said.
The Kilifi County Assembly principal clerk William Katana said that the County assembly ratified the spatial plan after proving that it met all the legal requirements.
“The plan was formulated through a consultative and participatory process and that was key for the county assembly committee in considering the plan and it was also linked to the Coast region and the national government spatial plans,” he said.