The Chairperson of the Commission on Administrative Justice office of Ombudsman Florence Kajuju and some of the officers from the said office Tuesday visited the Media Council of Kenya Mt. Kenya region offices in Meru town to ascertain the progress of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) the office of Ombudsman signed with the media council of Kenya in 2020.
Speaking Kajuju said the work of the office of Ombudsman is to ensure that journalists works together with Ombudsman office.
She said so far the Ombudsman office has trained 200 journalists in the country on how to get information from both National and county governments, and when denied the information by any public officer, how the journalists should report to the Ombudsman office so that they can be assisted.
Kajuju said the Ombudsman office has a desk at Meru huduma center and that as a commission they have a plan to open Ombudsman office in Meru county if possible this year as there are so many complains the office of Ombudsman in Nairobi is receiving from Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu and Isiolo against government officers.
The chairperson said the commission has noticed that most of the counties are not giving out information to the citizens against access to information Act.
She noted that when it comes to issues of procurement and employment as a commission they expect the counties to release such information to the public without any hiding but as Ombudsman they have realized that most of the county governments are not releasing such information.
Kajuju noted that the office of Ombudsman has tried to train county officers so that they get to understand that citizen s are supposed to be given information as and when they require.
She said her office is trying to work with the counties to establish county government administrative Ombudsman.
On his part, the media council of Kenya Eastern region manager Jackson Karanja said during the meeting, they have been able to exchange views on how to assist journalists access information from the government officers.
He said even after 10 years of devolution, journalists are facing challenges in accessing information from the counties and national governments offices.
Karanja said they discussed on how the MCK regional office together with the office of Ombudsman will work together in offering trainings to the public officers, county government officers and journalists on access to information noting that journalists have a big role in desiminating information to public and they cannot do so if they don’t have access to information.
He noted that very soon they will be rolling out different programs and sensitization campaigns to ensure that journalists get access to information and use it in the right way.
The office of Ombudsman has the mandate of tackling improper administration in the public sector.
The office is empowered to investigate complaints of delay, abuse of power, unfair treatment, manifest injustice or discourtesy.
The commission also has a mandate of overseeing and enforcing the implementation of access to information Act 2016.