Advocacy & Governance
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Citizen participation in governance processes is contained in Article 118 and 196 of the constitution. This is further supported by the County Government Act; section 87 of the act gives citizen participation in governance a core element of devolution.
It specifies citizen’s right to participate in governance process. For the benefits of devolution to be realized, a new social contract between government and its citizens has been put in place.
KMET and Concern Worldwide running governance project in Kisumu county seeking to enhance participation within the county. The core reason for devolution is to bring decision making and resource allocation closer to the people.
This requires a structured participation giving each level capacity to channel their views. There exists a two tier system in the citizen participation structure one executive centered and the other centered on the Member of County Assembly. Through the model of using community conversations
The instrumental role of CCs is breaking the information barrier, because these open and regular meetings allow people from diverse social and economic groups to exchange new ideas.
How do you ensure public participation is realized? The existing apathy in governance issues, how do you change this?
Well, a more effective public participation requires a well-informed citizen. The community conversation is a starting point to this effect. Participants in these sessions have the chance to discuss their problems as well as bring up solutions for them.
To implement this there was need to amend the Public Participation Bill 2014 establishing structures to makes this reality. KMET and Concern Worldwide set the pace by lobbying for Members of County Assembly Kisumu through the Justice and Legal Affairs committee. Inclusion of civil society organizations, marginalized groups and other special interests was essential in making the Bill more citizens centered.
The amended Bill seeks to enhance participation at the county level creating a county public participation committee made up of representatives from the civil society organizations, persons with disability , a representative of the county executive , representatives from faith based organizations lastly two children representatives’.
It also establishes community conversations named Citizen Forums at all administrative levels from the village, ward, sub County up to the county level.
From the conversations, discussions on provision of services like security, education, resource allocation especially infrastructure development, an all inlusive budgetary process are some of the issues residents of Kisumu County from the different CC units have raised.
CCs have the long term impact of influencing policy formulation, capacity building for communities and even address gender inequality which inhibits participation in community meetings.