The KEPSA Lands, Physical Planning and Housing Sector Board held its monthly meeting on 5th February 2020. The key issue of discussion was the professionals’ involvement in the public service sector.
The sector board noted that most professionals like surveyors, architects, engineers, lawyers, land administrators, valuers, quantity surveyors, planners among others, have shied away from public services or political positions leaving unqualified and underqualified people to run key institutions and boards. This has led to delays in service delivery, low-quality services or making critical decisions that would have negative outcomes. While some of the institutions are beyond professionals’ reach like urban boards and politically influenced appointments, professionals are nevertheless encouraged to take up these positions.
The professional associations have a key role to play in ensuring that they are represented in the various government bodies by encouraging their members to apply and offering them recommendations where need be. The sector board observed that some of the professionals shy away from appointments because of the political influence which can affect them negatively. The members agreed that the professional association has a role to play in protecting members in cases where they are attacked for upholding the professional code of ethics and to hold the members accountable when they go against these codes.
KEPSA initially submitted a memorandum to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) committee in September 2019. Some of KEPSA’s input formed part of the BBI report that was presented last year. Though, the sector board members agreed that very few professional associations were involved in the initial process. The sector board chair, Mr. Gikonyo Gitonga requested members to participate in the second phase rather than leaving the whole process to be controlled by politicians who would not represent the professionals and private sector’s interests. The sector board chair concluded by noting that the Kenyan public is looking up to the professionals in the lands, construction and urbanization sector for direction. He added that if professionals don’t offer themselves, they may end up complaining despite being part of the solution.