- “Civil societies cannot align to a government whose top leadership has aptly described as a share-holding company complete with its brash biases and prejudices,” he said in a statement.
- He said that the Kenya Kwanza government is yet to operationalise the Public Benefit Organisations Act of 2013 which it pledged despite two high court directives and assurances by the government to commence the law.
The Kenya National Civil Society Centre has opposed calls by government on all Public Benefit Organisations and other NGOs to align their programmes and interventions with the bottom-up economic transformation agenda.
Executive director Suba Churchill asked civil societies to ignore a directive by Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo, saying that the directive runs counter to the values and ethos of non-partisanship, non-discrimination, transparency and accountability, that underpin the foundation on which civil society organisations are established.
“Civil societies cannot align to a government whose top leadership has aptly described [itself] as a shareholding company complete with its brash biases and prejudices,” he said in a statement.
He said that aligning with the government will open room for unnecessary and undue interference from external forces and interests, including from the government.
He said that PBOs and civil society organisations are generally private entities that cannot be lumped together with government ministries, departments and agencies, and directed on the basis of a partisan political preference and leaning that even some of its own members cannot articulate.
“Even if some of the public benefit organisations wanted to align their interventions with the government agenda as some already do by dint of the missions and objectives that they set for themselves, the organisations would be hesitant to openly identify with policies of a government that is associated with oppressive tax regimes, insensitivity to public opinion, arrogance and proclivity to barefaced human rights violations,” he said.
Churchill said that the contribution of the NGO sector in Kenya has grown over the years, defying the lack of enabling environment and spirited attempts by successive governments to stifle and cripple the growth and operations of the civil society in the country.
The NGOs sector contributed Sh 125 billion to the economy in the 2013-14 financial year, according to the Annual NGO Sector Report.
In the 2019-20 financial year, the sector contributed Sh169.7 billion to the economy while in the in the 2020-21 period, the sector contributed Sh175.9 billion to the economy.
The sector contribution grew to Sh 185 billion in the 2021-22 financial year, with health taking 17.3 per cent, relief supplies 15.6 per cent and education 14.5 per cent, while other sectors, comprising sports, housing and settlement, energy, children, animal welfare, media and road safety followed at 2.5 per cent.
“Omollo was the chief guest at the launch of the 2021-22 annual NGO sector report on June 6, 2023, and seems to be responsible for the apparent drooling and quest by the Kenya Kwanza government to influence and control the NGO sector’s preferences and contribution to the economy for their own selfish political ends,” Churchill said.
He said that the Kenya Kwanza government is yet to make operational the Public Benefit Organisations Act of 2013, which it pledged despite two High Court directives and assurances by the government.
Churchill said that the PS has returned with directives laced with insinuations on national security to intimidate the sector into blind submission to the government’s partisan schemes, rather than follow through with the promise to make the the law operational.
He said that the government should also provide more tax incentives to attract more donor funding to the NGO sector as contemplated in the Public Benefit Organisations Act.