The purpose of the conference was to strengthen the participants’ qualifications for working with transparency in partnership. During the conference, lectures were conducted on the TI Kenya report, as well as workshops led by the ICLD.
“Organizing a regional conference is new in our area of Municipal Partnership,” says Felicia Wede, Programme Officer. “We at ICLD, and the participants, thought it was a very successful conference, to bring all active Municipal partnership participants together can hopefully lead to greater contact areas and knowledge exchanges between them”.
Yvonne Anyango is founder and executive director of Cooperation Arena for Sustainable Development in Africa (CASDA), an international NGO based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has been a professional partner to ADEP Ltd for more than 10 years, supporting partnerships between local authorities in Sweden and Kenya funded by Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD).
What would you like to do to provide citizens with a better understanding of the roles of the elected leaders?
“It is important to note that once a majority of these leaders are elected to office, they either change their phone contacts or there are a lot of restrictions in place when reaching them at their office. Security and personal bodyguards at functions have also made it very difficult for the citizens to access their leaders. Citizens therefore wait until the leaders’ terms come to an end to elect new leaders, and so the trend continues.”
Titus Ogalo, Programme Coordinator, Public Accountability at Transparency International Kenya, says there are other ways for citizens to learn more about the roles of their leaders:
“The best way to engage is not by phone or to visit them individually. We need to empower the public on some strategies,” he says. “I believe there is a big challenge evaluating the leaders based on their rightful roles. No politician will turn down an organized group who are seeking attention on an issue.”
Yvonne Anyango has a strong commitment to vulnerable people and groups, human rights and environmental sustainability. She says she doesn’t have the right tools to inform citizens of the role the elected leaders have.
“No, I think civil societies should make the citizens aware of what the leaders’ roles are and help them demand accountability. The leaders should also be supported – printing brochures, pamphlets, posters and attending media talk shows on both radio and TV to challenge citizens on performance score cards.”
Titus Ogalo says that an important aspect of knowing a leaders role is to know what to hold them accountable for. And also, to empower the public on how to hold them accountable.
“It is one thing to know the role of leaders and another to hold them accountable in line with Kenya’s legal framework, which needs to be the bigger picture, he says.”
The survey interviewed 7 732 respondents from 47 counties. In addition, 45 county executive officials from 36 county governments and 233 officials from 46 county assemblies were interviewed. According to the survey as many as 58 per cent had not received, heard or seen any news from the county government.
Policies and legislations to guide public participation at the County Governments are important, says Yvonne Anyango:
“Because the county, being a service delivery unit, should engage the citizens at the planning and budgeting stage. However, in most cases, the citizens have lost faith and trust in their leaders, so they do not take part in public participation processes.”
Also, Yvonne Anyango says, due to the level of corruption in county governments the citizens are invited to participate only in a one-day workshop to rubber stamp what has already been decided when it comes to planning and budgets.
Do you think the report gave an accurate picture of the situation at hand?
“To me I think the report was quite shallow and outdated. A lot has changed in the county governments since the report was published and there is a need to undertake additional research in order to provide more up to date information.
“It was done in 2016 and some indicators may have changed and need to do be updated. However, some aspects of the findings are still very relevant, to date I don’t think there has been any effort to do a similar study in all the 47 counties to provide the kind of comparative analysis that this report gave.
The conference embraced two global goals, Objective 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities, as well as Goal 17 on Implementation and Global Partnership.
Felicia Wede is pleased with the conference:
– The conference was characterized by great commitment and knowledgeable participants.