The problems facing Machakos township authority in the preparation and implementation of physical development plans
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Land use development poses a formidable challenge to the local authorities which are inadequately equipped politically, administratively, technically and financially to perform their planning obligations efficiently and effectively. It is this fundamental problem confronting local authorities in the management of land use development in the urban centres in Kenya, that forms the central theme underlying this study. The study specifically, examines and identifies the roles that Machakos township authority plays in the preparation and implementation of physical development plans, vis-a-vis the other agencies, and the difficulties it encounters in its efforts to fulfill these responsibilities. From the analysis of development projects in Machakos town, this study establishes that, the authority is expected to play significant roles in the planning and implementation of development process. It is observed also, that, the authority is handicapped in its capacity to carry out its planning obligations efficiently and effectively owing to the weakness of the councillors and lack of technically qualified staff, among other factors. The root causes of its planning incapacity were found to arise from the shortcomings in the administrative system of the Local Government on the one hand, and the weakness inherent in the physical planning machinery on the other. The strategies suggested for improvement of the planning capacity of the authority call for a combination of two types of actions; an immediate use of the existing technical resources in the central government agencies by incorporating the technical officers from the functional Ministries and other agencies at the local level, in the council's decision-making committees, and secondment of some qualified personnel from the relevant agencies to the local authorities; It is recommended also, that, a systematic training programme be initiated to enable local authorities to develop the technical manpower they require in the long run. Additionally, the long term policy calls for a review of the regulations governing the composition and working of the local authorities with a view to making them, more effective instruments for discharging their responsibilities, as well as re-examination of the planning legislation in order to streamline the physical planning machinery at the local level. Two areas of research are recommended in the light of the findings of this study; one to facilitate establishment of a criteria for determining the planning capacity required by the various authorities, and another for evaluating the existing planning legislation with a view to mapping out the necessary legislative changes for strengthening the physical planning machinery and procedures at the urban level.