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This article is taken from the April 2005 Phatlalatsa newsletter


Governance, Justice, Law & Order Sector Reform Programme: Kenya

S&T partner David Everatt is the Team leader for the Advisory Team of Kenya’s massive Governance, Justice, Law & Order Sector Reform programme (GJLOS-RP), and will be leading bi-annual Review teams through to 2009. In this, S&T is continuing our highly successful partnership with South Consulting (Nairobi), which stretches back to 1999.

The first Review meeting for GJLOS-RP took place on 7-9 December 2004 in Mombasa. The meeting was opened by the vice-President of Kenya, followed by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Thereafter, some 200 delegates debated the 200+ recommendations submitted by our Review team in order to enhance the impact of GJLOS-RP.

GJLOS in context

The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (MoJCA) was created by a new, reform-minded government, and has grown and developed in parallel with GJLOS-RP. GJLO-RPS is a highly strategic vehicle for the new Ministry, allowing MoJCA to focus on sectoral linkages, building alliances and sourcing resources, thereby deflecting any possible ‘turf war’ that may have followed its creation. GJLOS-RP was one among many priorities facing the new Ministry, and may have suffered as a result. But MoJCA leadership of the programme has grown over time and is now firmly entrenched.

GJLOS-RP in its current form (the Short-Term Priority Programme) focuses mainly on supply-side delivery – easy but important victories that help diminish hostility, create allies, and prepare the ground for reform. This is important in its own right, given the systematic under-resourcing suffered by the sector for decades. But it is also a strategic choice, reflecting the need to ‘walk a narrow path’ between the need for creating infrastructure for reform and the limitations imposed by political imperatives. This helps explain the nature and purpose of the STPP but also requires that in the next phase of GJLOS-RP, sustainable reformist interventions must be more evident.

The programme started in November 2003, although funds only became available in mid-2004. All departments finalised workplans with a schedule of activities and budgets, and procurement of goods and services, training, workshops and conferences have already begun. Almost 50% of basket fund monies have been committed. Some key achievements thus far include the following:

  • GJLOS-RP is Kenya’s first sector-wide programme (SWAP): if it works well, it could lead to wide replication, but failure could have very negative consequences
  • GJLOS-RP is internationally path-breaking in its combination of Governance and Justice under a single, ambitious SWAP.
  • Government leadership of the programme is firmly entrenched.
  • The Programme Co-ordinating Office has been established, with expertise in communication, M&E, strategic planning and budgeting.
  • Once the lengthy design process gave way to implementation, scepticism was replaced with enthusiasm and support for the programme among implementing departments.
  • A culture of monitoring and evaluating performance is slowly forming; many departments have established M&E mechanisms and want to focus on quality and impact. This is a sharp contrast with the past.
  • Sharing of information among government departments has increased significantly.
  • Transparency has grown significantly. Budgets and workplans are widely shared where previously they were regarded as confidential.
  • GJLOS-RP provides opportunities for government/civil society partnership, another major break with the past, although an area still requiring some hard work.

Some important weaknesses are also evident:

  • Cross-cutting rights issues appear to have been late add-ons to the programme
  • Integration of HIV/AIDS and environmental issues is almost non-existent
  • There is widespread unhappiness with the FMA balanced by acceptance that all actors have been on a steep learning curve
  • While government is widely seen as leading GJLOS-RP, there is also a perception that the programme is overly influenced by donors
  • The absence of linkages with MTEF or broader public sector reform

It is too early to measure impact in any meaningful way. Simply getting GJLOR-RP up and running is widely regarded as a major achievement, given the long history of failed programmes. Respondents identified the following as milestones for the programme:

  • Co-operation between different departments in identifying areas of core competence and avoiding duplication of effort
  • The high profile focus on anti-corruption, justice and good governance
  • The involvement of sectors and departments traditionally seen as conservative and exclusive
  • Technical assistance
  • Donor co-operation and co-ordination
  • Reduction of bureaucracy
  • Consistent and active participation of high-level GoK officials

GJLOS-RP as a sector-wide programme

The Review noted the very positive conditions that exist for GJLOS-RP to succeed as a SWAP, the important successes it has already scored, and clear indications of movement in a positive direction within GoK and among donors, CSOs and others.

Measured against indicators for a successful SWAP, GJLOS-RP performs very well. GJLOS-RP emerges as flexible and responsive to challenges, reflecting well on the programme management team. Donors have also been flexible, streamlining their reporting requirements, enhancing co-ordination and some are examining the provision of direct support to government.

Examining GJLOS-RP in comparative context highlighted some important gaps as well as gains. The Advisory Team made recommendations in the following areas:

  • The need for comprehensive baseline data to inform indicator design and to ensure that impact is measurable.
  • The need to explore harmonisation between GJLOS-RP and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
  • The need to build alliances with the legislative arm of government.

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