Consultative Forum for the Civil Society Actors in the Lower Eastern - Foundation Office Kenya
The Kenyan Constitution has placed critical roles and responsibilities under its people. The numerous public participation clauses in the Constitution cannot be underestimated and the on-going institutional reforms, together with the devolution process, call for serious engagement and sensitisation amongst the non-state actors to play their central participatory roles.
As the Constitution has become the beacon of hope towards development in many of the marginalised and underdeveloped areas of the country, the role of participatory leadership and management of public affairs call for the non-state actors to endear themselves towards enhancing accountability, inclusive of the public private partnerships, with objectivity in critiquing the duty bearers.
Accountability of leadership and management cannot be realised when the people are not informed or aware of the issues they ought to advocate for, in relation to provision and guaranteeing of social services and rights such as health, food, water and sanitation, agriculture, education, housing, land and its management, environmental care among others. These call for social groups and organisations in any region to come together, promote their awareness to enhance accountability within and amongst all actors within the region. For this to happen, awareness raising and public education remains the starting point of any social change, participatory democracy and respect for human rights and good governance.
With this in mind, a Lower Eastern Development Forum was initiated with support and facilitation from the Konrad Adeneur Stiftung Foundation on the 3rd of July 2013 to entrench the understanding of constitutionalism through devolution in the Lower Eastern Counties (Machakos, Kitui and Makueni). A follow up consultative forum was organised with CSOs actors and participants from the three counties in Matuu Ndallas, on the 18th and 19th of July 2013 to enhance the understanding and avenues for mutual engagements, towards public participation in the County Governments. The workshop objectives were to
•initiate broader deliberations and consultations on the developmental and governance needs and issues that affects the region
•deliberate on the methodical and popular approaches on how these issues can be managed, resolved or transformed and advocated for, through the Devolved System of governance as enshrined in the Constitution, and with accountability mechanisms.
•deliberate on the prerequisites and vehicles for social organising towards resource mobilisation, for socio-economic, cultural and political change and development.
Some of the expectations from the participants were
a)How young women can participate and be involved in devolved governments
b)How to entrench culture of constitutionalism
c)Sharing experiences on what was happening in the 3 Ukambani counties
d)How we the Forum could form a strong constituency to protect the resources in the 3 Ukambani counties including mapping of these resources, use of professionals and engagement with the elected and appointed leaders
e)What engagement strategies we need to entrench devolution with people participation
f)Understanding the structures of devolved governments and the entry points and place of public participation in these structures
Presentations and Proceedings
Mr. Steve Ogolla, Consultant with KAS observed that the workshop was a follow up to the one that was held in Emali and the meeting of minds of the KAS and the civil society actors is a strength where sharing of ideas is ensured. The foundation was to promote good governance founded on the constitution and promoting constitutionalism through legal provisions. He further observed that the weaknesses of the previous constitution were fundamental and hence the freedoms were curtailed, individuals had lee ways, human rights were violated and authority was abused.
Constitutionalism demands for working institutions, where the executive is an effective implementer of the constitution and good governance, parliament is the law making body, judiciary as the arbiter, civil actors including disciplined forces and national human rights institutions as the promoters and protectors of the constitution. This is required to manage and control selfish interests of individuals, promote rule of law. Constitutionalism ought to be ensured and guaranteed as good people are always and almost bad people.
Discussions and deliberations of the people are not for short term goals but a strong vision to transform a society. The universal principles should guide the envisaging of the kind of state and counties we need based on the constitution and entrenching constitutionalism for good governance. On this, the role of CSOs should be understood for effectiveness and efficiency in promotion of good governance in Kenya. These roles include
•Promoting people will as organisations or institutions through effective checks and balances. They look after the peoples. People ought to be in organisations and organised for their course with respectful structures, have strength in numbers.
•Having mutual support and partnership with the government, criticising where necessary, working with cooperation on developmental issues
•Advocating for the vulnerable and marginalised, and plight of the people as change agents.
•Educating people on basic rights, responsibilities and obligations including electing leaders
•Encouraging togetherness in communities and the society and supporting communities in establishing income generating activities for economic change and development. These also involves advocating for change (transformation, reforms etc) while improving leadership and governance and the quality of service delivery to the people.
For all these to happen, CSOs should have and build capacities to prevent and respond to conflicts while building networks and coalitions for change and development.
Mr. Jacobus Kiilu- Minister for Water, Makueni County
Being a resident of Kibwezi East Constituency, in Makueni County, the expressed his great support for the forum and the greeting from the Makueni Governor, Prof. Kibwana. He also emphasised that CSOs have had a critical role in the development processes in Kenya with strong advocacy some including the October 20th 2001, where the Ene Land Commission was launched in the RPP offices but had various challenges. He was impressed that the spirit that was behind Ene Land was still that strong and the representation in the Makueni County was a clear indicator that the work of human rights, good governance and democracy was rewarding as CSOs luminaries has taken power and should lead and show the way in the county. With a Governor, Deputy, Women representative, Cabinet secretaries and members of the County Assembly being in power and from the civil society background, the county has great potentials.
With this, he presented several opportunities that CSOs had in the current dispensation. Some of these include
•Placing themselves in positions of power to implement the laws and policies anchored under the Constitution. The process is on and needs all the support with clear understanding of the roles in terms of understanding how government works, the aspects on cooperation and execution of issues within the counties.
•Re-orienting the communities on rights and responsibilities, to think and take actions to the next level and making use of the brains of the governors and other leaders.
•Encouraging togetherness as the governors were taking lead in these and the community should make use of these efforts to ensure that the community benefits.
•Income generating activities and securing a high command in wealth creation, with 30% to women, 30% to youths and with demands for accountability, there is still more to be done on resources use. This calls for identification of people who can affirm business for youths and women and regulations for these groups, with encouraging body corporates to do business with the counties. Legislating on trusts for women and youths would be a way to go.
The minister highlighted some of the challenges in ensuring smooth transition and working with the CSOs. Some of these include
•Understanding how governments work. This is a critical issue for all of us and how counties work and how government structures operate.
•Understanding the constitution and its interpretations. Interpretation of constitutional provisions is contentious and largely influenced by politics. Understanding the constitution and its interpretation would help the counties especially in the Bill of Rights and the CSOs have a larger role here.
•Organisations and their structures are rigid and hard to change. Those that are flexible are not organised enough to attract and add value. There is need to propel the CSOs to become institutions with strong structures to attract connections and working with the county government and appreciating that the community is ready for action to defend what is theirs.
With this presentation and opening remarks, the minister declared the workshop officially opened.
Understanding the Lower Eastern Development Forum- led by Mr. Stephen Musau
The participants were taken through the thinking process that was initiated by a small team to see how Ukambani region could strengthen their case for entrenching devolution and ensuring effective service delivery. The thinking started last year around October 2012 when it became apparent that the region was not having deliberative, consultative and influencing debates on the issues that needed effective leadership for ensuring that constitutionalism is guaranteed in the region, particularly with devolution. The thinking process saw the first workshop being held in Emali on 3rd of July 2013 with support from KAS. The workshop agreed with the idea and set up the 3 key objectives of the Forum being
a)To liaise between the people, county and national governments (practising the principle of cooperation)
b)To mobilise for economic, social, political education, public participation, accountability and transformation (practising the principle of oversight)
c)To deliberate, consult and influence on leadership at community, county and national levels (practising the principle of distinctness)
A small committee was selected by the participants to oversee the developments of the Forum with the critical areas being on how to ensure that rule of law and especially so around devolution were being adhered to and implemented as per the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
Under the guidance of Mr. Stephen Musau, the participants went into group thinking process. The participants were broken into group works under their counties. They were to answer the following questions
•What are the critical issues and needs of urgent attention within the county
•Where are they within the county
•What needs to be done and by who
oby organisations (CBOs, groups, NGOs , FBOs within the county)
oby collective action (for the Forum and other stakeholders)
Group presentations and reporting
County Issues Locality What needs to be done and by who?
Organisations (groups, CBOs, NGOs, FBOs etc); Collective actions (by LEDF and others)
Machakos Sand scooping Across the county in all wards Urgent county policy to control and regulate this is required
Poor water harvesting and storage Across the county; rivers, streams and valleys Harvesting and storage of water is required through earth dams, household water harvesting, boreholes and household education on this
Food insecurity Across the countyStorage facilities for cereals; storage of seeds; subsidised fertilisers; sensitise farmers on early planting; increase agricultural extension officers and they be engaged actively; establish processing plants and companies.
Poor management of ballast, black stone and construction stones as a resource All over the county Provide machines for crutching these stones and ballast; have a proper mining policy and pricing issues
Poor marketing of artefacts Across the county Formulate a policy for marketing, production, costing and eliminate middle men
Livestock keeping Across the county Policy on pricing in the county and inter-county trading is required
Unemployment Across the countyPriority to be given to the locals in matters of employment and mostly so for the youths
Impunity on appointments (County Executive Committee) Across the county CSOs to shout out about the matter and engage for solutions
Vulnerability of the aged and orphans and lack of social protection Across the countyOperationalisation of the Social Security Act; engage the county government and CSOs
Land rights and issues Across the county Engage with the county and national governments
Kitui Land rights and issues Mwakini, Nzalae, Mbeu, Mbiliviri, Ngunyumu, Katoleni County and National governments to be engaged for registration and issuing of title deeds; Engage the National Land Commission on historical land injustices
Minerals ( coal, iron ore, sand, limestone) Coal in Mui in Mutitu, Iron ore in Muumoni, Sand in Mwingi and Kitui rivers, Limestone in Mutomo Lobby for appropriate policies to be put in place on mining and harvesting of natural resources; County Assembly to be engaged, National government to be engaged on mining laws and NGOs and local communities to be involved and educated on the compensation issues
Excessive charcoal burning leading to environmental degradation Especially in the hilly areas of the county and in everywhere in the countyEngage the national and county governments, community and civil society to have a clear stand on the matter for policy and laws development
Human wildlife conflict( low compensations on snake bites, Kora in MutomoEngage the national and county governments, community and civil society to have a clear stand on understanding this kind of conflict and the compensation policy and laws development
Insecurity amongst tribes in the border areas Mutha, Endau, Enganda, Mbiliviri, KaningoEngage the national and county governments, community and civil society to create awareness, enhance cohesion and address the issues and causes of the insecurity
Governance – county budget tracking and citizen participation on issues such as transport, infrastructure, education etc County and National governments Civil society, ministry of education, county ministers and the Transitional Authority
Makueni Water – the County has only 32% of pipe water which is not reliable and has poorly managed water institutions Entire county affected Individual households to invest in water harvesting and storage; Environmental conservation; soil and water conservation; regulation of sand harvesting; serious capital investment and enforcement of reg ulations by county and national government; Chapter 5 Article 69.
Community mobilisation and motivation through civic education; environmental protection
Institutional development especially water companies to promote management
Cooperate with the state organs and private sector on water provision especially on the national water master plan inputs are required
Youth unemployment Entire county Skills development; training; promote enterprise development for IGAs supported by state and private institutions; awareness on youth funds; role modelling and single mentoring in business;
Poor marketing of horticultural crops, food crops, fruits and livestockEspecially in Makueni, Kaiti, Mbooni constituencies Formation of farming cooperatives on horticultural, food crops, fruits farming; encourage public and private partnerships, form fruit processing industries, explore international markets and have inter-county trade
Poor infrastructure with only 290km with tarmac roads, poor county road network, poor communication and transportEntire county County and national governments to be engaged for infrastructure development; Interlinking roads; follow up on allocation on infrastructure resources; lobbying and advocacy on allocation of resources
Lack of land registration for individuals to have access and control of investment Kibwezi East, West and Makueni highly affected County and National government to take action in giving the title deeds
Cross cutting issues from the three counties
From these group works, the following emerged as the cross cutting issues within the 3 counties that will demand a lot of attention for proper service delivery
1.Water, sanitation and environmental issues: All the three counties have serious water issues that also interrelate with the sanitation and environmental care.
2.Ignorance: there are high levels of ignorance on the constitution, the devolved government laws and policies, legal notices, gazette notices and other related matters;
3.Land and agricultural related issues: the cases of land rights, lack of title deeds and poor use of agricultural lands was cited across the three counties and lack of value addition on agricultural produce.
4.Minerals and natural resource utilisation: the lack of policies and laws to guide in these was cited across the counties, with minimal information and professional knowledge around these minerals and their place in economic development
5.Poor infrastructure: the three counties have poor infrastructure including poor roads and road networks, communication, technology use and inter-linkages, poor trade due to poor infrastructure and low capacities in trade and business including low levels of cooperative movements
6.Poor knowledge on public participation on budget, budgeting and budget tracking on critical issues
7.Impunity and corruption which eats on many developmental funds
Comments from the floor on the above issues
From the 7 cross cutting issues above,
•There would be need to narrow the issues to specifics that need to be done and the strategic documents that are required for engagement with the county and national governments.
•There would also be need for knowledge and information on the Integrated County Development Plans which the CSOs would take a huge opportunity to input and influence in the processes.
•Also consideration of sector specific engagements such as water, education, trade, planning etc would be required. The participation of CSOs to see how the 3 counties can influence issues, support the governors on fast tracking of the gazette notice and seeking for review on Acts that are not in tandem with county governments especially on those relating to direct public services such as Water Act will be urgently required.
•CSOs should abreast themselves with information on what is happening at the county levels and seek ways of pulling resources together in the three counties e.g on the Kibwezi-Kitui Road and whether joint borrowing can be done by the three counties from the national government. This is a matter that can be lobbied for by CSOs.
•Understanding of devolution functions and Legal Notices is also that important. For instance Legal Notice No. 16 is almost stalling the devolution of functions as its application demands prove of capacity by county governments, a proof that can only be done at the national level yet the services of the county ought to be seen running as a proof of capacity and ability to manage the devolved functions.
•Building of the capacities for devolved government is also critical and can only be done through the Transitional Authority yet this was not happening smoothly as national government is not supportive of the quick moves on policy issues, legal frameworks, funds release and personnel support which demands for restructuring of institutions to be under the county governments for proper management and administration. These constraints need to be addressed with support from CSOs.
•The issue of engaging professionals was raised for they would play a critical role in the process not excluding the faith based organisations. Doing thorough stakeholders mapping would help a lot in the Forums engagements.
•The issue of legitimacy was also of concern and the image we shall be presenting. As a platform for delivery, CBOs, NGOs, groups, professional associations, trade unions etc within the counties needs to be engaged and involved in the Forum events and activities. Finding a working relationship with those in positions of power would play a big role in ensuring that the Forum also achieves its objectives for instance the working relationship between CSOs and the Governors. This can be made possible by knowing where the relationship is as at now and where it ought to be for proper and timely service delivery to the people.
Presentations by Hon. Bishop Mutemi
The Hon. Bishop begun by observing that poverty by choice cannot be changed unless the individual decides to change. He observed that doing nothing for your course is a matter of choice and this is not to be dealt with, discussed and shared unless the individual decides to take a new path.
Anchored on this reasoning, he stressed that Article 43 of the Constitution had critical elements of attention. The 7 components in the Article should be taken as the path way to addressing the Kamba people’s challenges of development. He further observed that being a member of the Committee on Implementation of the Constitution of the Parliament, the implementation of the constitution remains at the core of the Committee and the people in Ukambani need to connect, internalise, memorise and run with the 7 components of Article 43 to ensure that the constitution is part of their lives as Ukambani we have sustained and witnessed low levels of income, lack of access of services, education, lack of decision making, capacity and ability to change the course. We also have poor infrastructure including poor access to water, sanitation, roads. Combine with these was presence of hunger with poverty increasing despair, hopelessness, apathy and timidity. There was need to initiate high levels of social change in the community as charities won’t work for us, he observed.
But what sustains poverty in Ukambani?
There were several factors that were highlighted by the Hon. Bishop as those that sustain poverty in the Ukambani region. Some of these include
•Ignorance: there is extensive lack of critical information for engagement by many people in Ukambani and levels of information are directly proportional to poverty. People eat relationships and many lack information to form relations even on basic issues such as doing farming as a business.
•Dishonesty: there is dishonesty and mistrust on the management and administration of communal resources. There are no requisite structures for dealing with this and the way we communicate the ideas we have is warped with dishonesty. Building trust within and amongst us as Kambas is necessary.
•Dependency: based on the two above, people believe that someone should always be there to support them and decide on their destiny. This creates dependency.
•Apathy: as their wishes are not fulfilled through dependency, hopelessness creeps in. The belief that help must come from outside, with no consultations works against the people. We ought to break these chains, build self-confidence and, look for prosperity.
•Disease: People’s apathy then leads to suffering from many unexplained diseases.
The secondary factors that sustain poverty in the region include
•Lack of markets
•Lack of skills
•Lack of capital among others
All these are factors that we should deal with to reduce high levels of poverty in the region. He went further to highlight the Biblical teachings on causes of poverty. These include
1.Proverbs 6: 10- indolence
2.Proverbs 21:17- love of pleasure
3.Proverbs 23:21- drunkenness and gluttony
4.Proverbs 28: 19- evil association
5.Proverbs 19: 15- idleness
6.Proverbs 20:4- sluggishness
Conclusively from the Biblical teachings, a poor man cannot lead as read in Isaiah 3:7 largely due to the causes listed in the above verses from Proverbs. However, and with all these teachings, civil society organisations need to find ways of changing strategies, approaches and tactics, sitting in the decision making organs e.g. committees of parliament and influencing decisions towards poverty reduction. In short, it is the ambitions of an individual that are the driving force towards fighting and ending poverty. This also demands effective governance at the counties to fight poverty.
The Characteristics of Good Governance in the County
•Attitude of consensus building or orientation: we do have many view points on the same issue and fail to find ways on how do we build consensus and develop mediation mechanisms on competing interests. These would inform sustainable development and ways of resolving conflicts at the county forums. We ought to define the major goals and influence the cultural and social contexts. This also calls for us to teach on tolerance and find home grown solutions to our problems of poverty.
•Participation: the basics should be how to have men and women at equal levels and how they participate. Direct participation, legitimate representations of the most vulnerable, having informed and organised groups (including of professionals) and having freedom of association and expression promotes participation. The civil society should be assisting in facilitating organised participation, with issue based attentions and professionals to guide in factual information through research.
•Follows the rule of law: following and having legal frameworks, being knowledgeable of the law, protection of human rights, independence of the judiciary and the police force all support good governance. For instance, CSOs should fight to have a law on the relationship of CSOs with county governments.
•Effective and efficient: the county government and any government should meet the needs of the people, within the required time while also protecting the environment and having mitigation on impact of environmental issues.
•Equitable and inclusive: this is the well-being of the county and requirement that all have an opportunity as a people to know how to survive and have livelihoods with without discrimination.
•Responsive: the governments should be able to serve all stakeholders, listen to everyone and give polite answers. This might be hard especially with competing interests but it’s the way to go.
•Transparent: the decisions on rules and regulations should abide by set policies, following procedures and processes, having free and accessible information and allowing this to flow information freely while also being enough and understandable to all.
•Accountable: everyone should be held to account in all ways, to all stakeholders. Accountability to relationships and those affected by decisions made should be considered while also being considerate of the rule of law and systems.
Kambas should know that they have never had a common VISION. They need a NEW VISION. This might be time we call and sing: WATHI MWEU, with new ways of relating and doing things. This WATHI MWEU would involve and include
W- Water resources
A- Agriculture, land and food
T- Tourism and hotel industry
H- Health services and institutions
I- Infrastructure, technology and education
M- Minerals and mining
W- Wildlife and museums
E- Environment and natural resources
U- Unity of the Kamba people
The WATHI MWEU represents all the issues and functions of the County Governments as outlined in the Constitution.
Plenary deliberations on the strategies for engagement
a)Reading and understanding the constitution, laws/Acts, policies, legal frameworks, legal notices, gazette notices among others and their interpretations in the letter and spirit of the constitution.
b)Organising for fact finding missions for factual and evidence based advocacy
c)Working in partnership with the governance institutions including the governors, senators, MPs, county assemblies and the executive committees and also the professional groups
d)Creating awareness and mobilisation of actors for partnerships
e)Creating networks, coalitions and alliances with persons and institutions for change
f)Sharing information and communicating through various media that can reach to the targeted audience
g)Resource mobilisation through relationships and contacts building while avoiding disengagements.
Resolutions of the Forum
From the workshop, the following emerged as the resolutions
a)That water and sanitation; civic education to fight ignorance on constitution, laws on devolution and policies; land and agricultural issues; minerals and natural resources in the three counties; poor infrastructure and technology use; public expenditures and budgeting and the fight against impunity and corruption shall form the agenda for collective engagements and actions.
b)That the Forum shall be working through fact finding missions on any of these issues through and in partnership with all governance institutions including governors, senators, national assembly, county assemblies, the county executives and professional bodies.
c)That the advocacy engagements shall be factual and evidence based and the avenues for dissemination of information and awareness creation shall be through the media and any other form that can reach the targeted audience with ease.
d)That as a voluntary network, the Forum shall be led by the CSOs in each of the county on any issue that demands the Forum’s intervention and attention, where upon failure by the CSOs, the Forum shall pick up the issue for peoples good and benefit.
e)That reviews and lessons learning shall be used as avenues for further engagements and alternative seeking.