Promoting Compliance with the principles of the rule of law and accountability for Siaya County - Foundation Office Kenya
The UN has defined the Rule of Law as “a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency." The key pillars of the Rule of Law framework include the constitution, a clear and consistent legal framework and its implementation; strong institutions of justice, governance, security and human rights that are well structured, financed, trained and equipped; and a public and a civil society that contributes to the rule of law by holding public officials and institutions accountable.
The principles of rule of law and accountability have been emphasized in the constitution of Kenya 2010 and in several subsequent statute laws. However, in the last four years since the constitution was promulgated, it appears that the principles are yet to be fully embraced. While devolution was introduced as a mechanism to entrench these principles in governance processes, the experience of County Governments in the last one year of their existence points to the contrary. Already, there have been concerns of lack or of low levels of public participation, unaccounted for funds and blatant abuse of office and unfair administrative processes. Moreover, there have been cases where court orders are ignored and not implemented. Part of the reasons why this scenario has prevailed is lack of clear understanding of the principles of rule of law and accountability.
It is on this account that the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) held a two-day conference that brought together development actors including County Government representatives (County Executive and County Assembly), civil society representatives, selected opinion leaders and the private sector including local public benefits organizations and faith based organizations to chart a county level strategy to promote adherence to rule of law and accountability norms and standards. Siaya Minister of Administration and Governance, Mr. George Okello, graced the workshop.
The outcome of the workshop was threefold;
- Understanding on the principles of the rule of law and accountability was improved.
- County specific (Siaya) impediments to accountable governance and rule of law were identified.
- Preconditions for effective social accountability were agreed upon