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Why MCAs want City Hall to create an Ombudsman office

Nairobi MCAs have called on the county government to develop a policy to provide for the establishment of office of County Ombudsman to receive and process complaints from residents.

In a motion fronted by nominated ward representative, Mbugua Kabiro, the county legislators want the executive to create the office which will give aggrieved city residents a chance to lodge complaints concerning cases of maladministration from officers working at the county.

“Currently there is no one you can go to in case one is aggrieved with complainant forced to still go back to the person who aggrieved them. This is why this motion is important to cure that great omission,” said Mr Kabiro on Tuesday.

He said that effective complaints handling is a crucial part of quality service delivery in any institution as it helps identify weak areas and create the motivation for continual improvement, issues raised are quickly resolved as well as improve the reputation and image of the institution and provide management with information on how its staff treat customers, thus promoting accountability for both the institution and its staff.

APPEAL MECHANISM

The nominated MCA said that residents have often been forced to lodge complaints with their ward representatives due to lack of a clearly defined appeal mechanism giving the aggrieved a chance to be heard.

“It is such a shame that a big county like Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, with over 5 million residents lacks an appeal mechanism for its people. This office will give the residence an avenue to lodge their complaints knowing that there is someone who will follow up the matter to ensure justice is served,” he said.

He said residents have been complaining of not being able to access services from county officers who demand bribes to extend such services as well as suffering undue delays in the delivery of the services as a result of having inept officers in office.

This, the MCA said, has contributed to the huge loss of revenue incurred by the county government due to extortion by such employees at the expense to service delivery to residents.

“I have myself received complaints from suppliers complaining of not getting paid as the officers are holding out to get bribed before approving their payments,” said the nominated MCA.

HARASSMENT

He said that the office will work in the same manner as the national government’s Commission on Administration of Justice to provide an out of court mechanism for the public.

While moving the notice of motion last week, Mr Kabiro raised concerns over increased cases of arbitrary arrests, harassment and extortion of traders and other members of the public by the City Inspectorate and Revenue Collection employees in recent years.

He complained that the said some of the officers infringing on rights and fundamental freedoms of the residents by engaging in such heartless acts do not face the full force of the law due to lack of effective complaints handling mechanisms in the county.

“This Assembly urges the County Executive to develop a policy that provides for the establishment of the office of County Ombudsman to receive and process complaints with a view to fostering a performance-oriented culture that seeks to revamp the process through which the County Government operates, in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness, and to inculcate a culture of client-oriented, mission-driven, and quality-enhanced management in the County,” the motion reads in part.