Raila Unveils Strategies to Save Crippled Civil Service

  • ODM leader Raila Odinga at an interview in 2018
    ODM leader Raila Odinga at an interview in 2018
  • ODM leader Raila Odinga has advised the government to save the civil service from deteriorating arguing that the government employees are the foundation of nation-building and national development. 

    This comes at a time when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ordered Kenya to retrench the service, initiate pay cuts and freeze the workers' salaries to lower the public sector wage bill.

    The stringent measures were tied to the Kh255 billion the financial institution granted Kenya. 

    "Nations begin to fail when the civil service begins to fail. Over the years, Kenya has maintained a comparatively functional civil service. But there remains tremendous room for improvement.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Kristalina Ivanova Georgieva-Kinova (right), the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

    "I envisage a civil service that is defined by discipline, hard work, high morale, efficiency, and high ethical standards," Raila stated. 

    He listed strategies he believed will ensure the civil service attracts and retains men and women of quality. However, he warned that those civil servants who perform will enjoy benefits and those who fail will face consequences such as promotion, pay stagnation or retrenchment. 

    The strategies included; addressing nepotism, tribalism and favouritism in the civil service.

    "Frustrated officers stay on just to secure pension and turn to other ways to supplement income and get fulfilment. They become brokers where they are supposed to be moderators. The nation and citizens are the losers," Raila stated. 

    Providing civil servants with incentives if they work hard, maintain a clean record and be disciplined. These include pay raises and promotions

    Designing and adhering to a clear career progression path for civil servants that stands no matter which party or leader takes power in Kenya. 

    Eliminate conflict of interest in the civil service that arises from corruption, public mistrust and poor and delayed services that have come to be associated with the public sector.

    Promote creativity in the civil service, devise a way through which civil servants can be allowed to spend time in the private sector and return to public service and enhance the capacity of the civil service to engage in strategic thinking.

    "Many times, civil servants are caught in routine office work. We need to push our civil service in the direction of the private sector where strategic thinking rather than business as usual and maintaining the status quo is a must or you sink," he added. 

    Create linkages between government and private sector, particularly the think tanks to enable civil servants to pursue routine work and engage in strategic thinking at the same time.

    "We made full use of the National Economic and Social Council with spectacular results in the Grand Coalition Government. We must borrow from the developed world where public policy think tanks are all over the place and are constant players in government," the former Prime Minister advised. 

    File image of Kenyans walking in a street in Nairobi