TRANSPARENCY

Governance project to strengthen collaboration between counties, CSOs

The programme is being undertaken in Nairobi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi and Makueni counties

In Summary

• The project by Mzalendo Trust targets to enhance CSO's involvement in governance issues at national and county levels.

• Wamere said this will facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement to entrench transparency, inclusiveness, accountable and responsive governance processes.

Mzalendo Trust Senior programme officer Gitungo Wamere
TRANSPARENCY: Mzalendo Trust Senior programme officer Gitungo Wamere
Image: FAITH MATETE

An NGO has rolled out an open governance project to enhance collaboration between the government and civil society organisations.

The project by Mzalendo Trust targets to enhance CSO's involvement in governance issues at national and county levels.

The collaboration, according to Mzalendo Trust senior programme officer Gitungo Wamere, is to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement to entrench transparency, inclusiveness, accountable and responsive governance processes in Kenya.

Currently the programme is being undertaken in four counties —Nairobi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi and Makueni.

Wamere spoke on Friday in Kisumu during an engagement with CSOs to raise awareness on the Open Governance Project and how best they can engage including with the county governments. 

"This is just the beginning in Kisumu and we are looking forward to have more engagement in advancing the open partnership agenda," he said.

The official said generally in Kenya, public participation has been poor and the public has never been engaged in decision making. 

"If you look at the national level, we don't have public participation laws, which ought to have been enacted long time ago," he said.

"The Parliament has been dragging to implement it. I think there is no political will to ensure that people are engaged. "

CSOs in Kiusmu during a meeting with Mzalendo Trust
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: CSOs in Kiusmu during a meeting with Mzalendo Trust
Image: FAITH MATETE

Wamere said the same culture has been cascaded down to the county governments. 

He said people are concerned that public participation does not match up to its proper principal.

"There is no access to information. I think as a country that is an area we have failed in," Wamere said. 

The official however said there is still room for improvement if OGP is inculcated into governance, to boost citizens participation and policy making. 

The OGP further seeks to broaden its base by building coalitions with more counties as well as expanding the scope and diversity of actors.

Wamere said since the inception of OGP in Kenya in 2011, Makueni county has registered impressive strides in public participation.

This, he says, has been through the formation of village development committees, which bear powers to approve projects. 

The platform helps in the establishment of a structured process for CSOs to participate in the formulation of government policies and programmes to reform the civil sector.

George Owuor the executive director for Transform Empowerment for Action Initiative, a CSO-based in Kisumu.
ACCOUNTABILITY: George Owuor the executive director for Transform Empowerment for Action Initiative, a CSO-based in Kisumu.
Image: FAITH MATETE

George Owuor the executive director for Transform Empowerment for Action Initiative, a CSO-based in Kisumu said this will go a long way in promoting transparency and accountability.

He said one of the things that citizens must know is to engage meaningfully in public participation and ensure those elected to represent us are up to task.

"What we are doing today is to ensure that civil societies in Kisumu county start to understand the process of open governance. The important things to look at are public participation and open contracting," Owuor said.

The official further said the number of wastages they have witnessed in the country for years is very alarming and if action is not taken we are going to have more challenges.

"I want to urge elected leaders to promote accountability and open contracting, which if not done well will not yield returns on resources," he said.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)

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