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Outstanding public officers, institutions feted at fourth Huduma Ombudsman awards

Outstanding public officers and institutions were on Thursday feted during the Fourth Edition of the Huduma Ombudsman Award ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in an event presided over by the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry for Public Service Moses Kuria.

Ms. Precious Dama Randu, the Assistant County Commissioner Matsangoni Division, Kilifi North Sub-County, Kilifi County emerged the winner in the Public Service Delivery Category; Individual Category, with the National Council for Law Reporting and the Kenya Revenue Authority emerging winners in the institutional category of the Public Service Delivery Category and Access to Information Category respectively.

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Ms. Randu was awarded for distinction in efficiency, innovation, and servanthood in public service within the public administration sector. She initiated Social Inclusivity Programs aimed at ensuring marginalized groups, including special needs individuals and the elderly, have access to vital government services.

“Her collaboration with various government agencies and private institutions facilitated mobile outreaches, enabling the registration of 830 special needs persons for birth certificates and enrolling 1,456 individuals for National Identity Cards. Her efforts also addressed challenges faced by elderly citizens in accessing programs like the Inua Jamii Programme, providing logistical support and medical assistance,” noted the Ombudsman

The commission also cited her proactive efforts against drug abuse, conducting successful raids on illegal drug farms and illicit brews, as a demonstration of her commitment to public safety.

The National Council for Law Reporting was awarded for advancing the rights of citizens through the provision of timely, accurate, and free legal information.

“Kenya Law has implemented policies enabling free access to public legal information, aligning with national and international calls for transparency and digitalization of government services. The Kenya Law website serves as a key platform for various legal resources such as case law, statutes, parliamentary data, and select publications, all available at no cost to users,” said the Ombudsman

Kenya Revenue Authority on the other hand was awarded for leveraging technology to effectively meet information needs and better serve its huge customer base.

“The authority provides critical information supports stakeholders requesting information, and monitors to ensure that all Access to Information requests are processed within 21 days and has proactively disclosed information through its online platforms, including the KRA website, KRA TV, and social media platforms,” said the commission

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman Valour Award went to Corporal Julius Karanja Irungu a police officer at Kotulo-Wajir, Special Operations Group (SOG) station. Corporal Karanja was awarded for heroic services to the nation at great personal cost after he completely lost his sight as a result of the fragments from the improvised explosive device during a suspected Al-Shabaab attack.

“The Ombudsman Valour Award is dedicated to members of the disciplined forces for heroic acts in service to our country. This category was introduced to honor those who serve in the disciplined forces, several of whom make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our liberties,” noted the commission

Positions two and three in the Public Service Delivery Category: Individual Category went to Ms. Joyce Khanali Khamala, Senior Head Teacher, Kimilili FYM and Junior School in Kimilili Sub- County, Bungoma County, and Dr. Andrew Gitau Kimani, CEO, Transport Licensing Appeals Board

Ms. Khanali was awarded for her dedication, innovation, and servant leadership in public service within the education sector having demonstrated tenacity and innovation that has significantly contributed to the improvement of school infrastructure, academic performance, educational quality, and access to education for the disadvantaged in her community.

Dr. Kimani on the other hand was awarded for leadership, dedication, and servant-hood in public service within the justice sector, Dr. Kimani has demonstrated a commitment to improving access to justice at the Transport Licensing Appeals Board. He has assisted individuals with prior convictions in accessing employment opportunities.

Huduma Kenya was awarded for innovatively reaching out to citizens through “Huduma Mashinani” while KRA was awarded for leveraging technology, public education campaigns, and alternative dispute resolution.

National Cancer Institute on the other hand was awarded for advancing citizens’ health rights through the dissemination of information with the KYBEB being awarded for promoting the right to access information by consistently packaging and availing government information in a variety of publications.

The award was a culmination of various processes starting from the call for nominations where the Commission received 357 nominations from the public countrywide.

The Ugatuzi Award Category also saw four governors being awarded for championing devolution. Homabay Governor Gladys Wanga was recognized for advocating for climate change and open governance. The County is at the forefront of enhancing access to information at the county level. The County launched the Climate Information Centre in October 2023, which is used to collect, analyze, and disseminate climate data on variables such as temperature, rainfall, wind, soil moisture, lake conditions, and extreme weather indicators.

Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire was recognized for promoting access to information for enhanced public service delivery with Embu County being among the pioneering counties in the domestication of the Access to Information law and is currently further localizing the law in accordance with section 96(3) of the County Governments Act, 2012.

Their counterparts from Makueni and Murang’a were also feted under the Ugatuzi Category. Mutula Kilonzo Junior, Governor of Makueni was recognized for leveraging technology and innovation for enhanced transparency and social accountability.

Irungu Kang’ata, Governor of Murang’a on the other hand was recognised for digitisation of county government services for improved transparency and efficiency.

The Huduma Ombudsman Award is one of the approaches the Commission has adopted to enhance accountability and responsiveness in the public service as well as promote compliance with administrative justice and access to information.

“The broad objective of the award is to reward the contributions of a public officer or a public institution that lead to a more effective, accountable, and responsive public service,” said the Ombudsman

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