Residents excited as assembly moves Bunge Mashinani to ‘neglected’ Ndithini ward

In Summary

• Residents of Ndithini ward in Masinga subcounty have lauded Machakos County Assembly for the planned Bunge Mashinani slated for Wednesday.

• The locals said the initiative will enable them to witness the assembly’s operations and interact with the MCAs, who most of them said were not known to them.

Machakos County Assembly proceedings in session on May 7, 2019.
Residents excited as assembly moves Bunge Mashinani to ‘neglected’ Ndithini ward Machakos County Assembly proceedings in session on May 7, 2019.
Image: GEORGE OWITI

Residents of Ndithini ward in Masinga subcounty have lauded Machakos County Assembly for the planned Bunge Mashinani slated for Wednesday.

The locals said the initiative will enable them to witness the assembly’s operations and interact with the MCAs, who most of them said were not known to them.

They said the mobile plenary sitting will also give them an opportunity to seek answers as far devolution is concerned.

 

“We are excited to have Bunge Mashinani in Ndithini ward. We can’t wait for this day,” spokesperson Joseph Kiio said.

Kiio said they felt neglected since the ward is located in the furthest part of Machakos county and accessing various services at the headquarters is a challenge.

“We have to pass through Murang’ a Kiambu and Nairobi counties to get to Machakos county headquarters for services. This is costly in terms of time and money. We use a day or two to travel to Machakos,” Kiio added .

They spoke to the Star in Masinga on Saturday.

Speaker Florence Mwangangi said for the public to understand and appreciate the work of county assemblies as enshrined in Article 185 of the Constitution, there is the need for civic education.

Mwangangi noted that Bunge Mashinani forums provide an opportunity for the County Assembly to conduct civic education.

“A major problem faced by many countries where parliamentary democracy is developing is lack of public knowledge and awareness about the functions of parliaments and their mode of operation.  The lack of awareness is said to be accompanied by a general public opinion that Parliament is an opaque institution devoid of transparency and accountability,” Mwangangi said.

 

She said it is from this background that the concept of mobile plenary sittings, dubbed ‘Bunge Mashinani’ was born. The argument being that taking County Assembly closer to the people would lead to greater public awareness and appreciation of the work of Parliament, better public attitude and perception towards parliament and involvement of the public more in Parliamentary debates, hence helping in making politicians more accountable.

“The County Assembly has had several forums on engagement with the public in the first and second assembly. To encourage more participation from the public, the County Assembly of Machakos through my auspices decided to introduce a new face of public engagements where now the assembly gets to interact with the public on a one on one. MCAs get an opportunity to consult the public on development and other issues of interest in their areas,” the Speaker added.

Mwangangi said the Assembly further seeks to promote civic awareness as contemplated in section 98 of the County Governments Act, 2012 and bring the House close to the people.

She said the assembly already conducted one ‘Bunge Mashinani’ in Yatta Sub-county at Kithimani ward on October 17 last year and plan to roll out similar programmes to all the eight subcounties.