By Salad Malicha
Isiolo County Assembly famously referred to as “Thabarsa Jedan Thabrsa Kraal” is miserably limping in the woods. Their style and manner of operations makes them looks like a run down village cattle dip. Their continual mismanagement is what keeps us enjoying the full pallet of emotions that truly enrich us. The indviduals on the spot here is the Speaker and the Clerk who are in charge of all form of maladies and malfeasance. It is noteworthy to understand members of staff are not part of the racketeering scheme.
Through the inevitable mismanagement of resources and goods at the disposal of the state, all forms of collectivism lead eventually to tyranny. This has what made them to have a date with destiny with Senior Counsel JAB Orengo on 6th November, 2019. SC will run roughshod on them like colossus.
Legislative transparency is crucial pillar of the Constitution. Article 118 (b) of the Constitution, read together with the Public Finance and Management Act and the Public Procurement Act, requires public participation and involvement in all areas of governance, including the legislative process, the budget process, and the procurement process.
Public access and participation in both the national and county legislature is guaranteed specifically under Article 118(1) (b) and 196(1) (b) of the Constitution directs the national and county legislatures to respectively “facilitate public participation” in their work. This underscores the fact that the election of representatives does not negate the need for people to continuously be involved in governance processes.
As I was combing and surfing
through the internet, I logged into the Assembly Website and bumped on the following;
● The last Hansard Report was uploaded on 15th October, 2019. The controversial proceedings of the House on 16-17 is conspicuously missing owing to the fact the Clerk gave unsolicited instructions to the staff Hansard Department not to upload it for reasons known to him.
● The last Order Paper was uploaded on 5th December, 2018. Ideally the Order paper should have been out to the public and uploaded 24 hours before the next sittings of the House.
● The last Vote and Proceedings of the Chamber was uploaded on 2nd October, 2018 which is rather strange.
● Draft copy of the controversial County Annual Development Plan 2020/21 was also uploaded. I call it controversial because it was not subjected to public participation as required by law. Strange as it may be the ADP copy was not signed by The Governor, CEC Member for Finance and the Chief Officers for Finance and Economic Planning. (Attached is the copy)
Factsheet on Public Participation
Public participation is defined by the International Association for Public Participation as the involvement of those affected by a decision in the decision-making process. Public participation encompasses a range of public involvement, from simply informing people about what Parliament is doing to delegating decisions to the public.
Public participation is one of the foundational principles of democracy. Democracy is premised on the idea that all citizens are equally entitled to have a say in decisions affecting their lives. Citizens’ participation in government decision making is fundamental to the functioning of a democratic system of governance as stated in Chapter One of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
Public participation in the legislative activities of Parliament and County Assemblies is a fundamental constitutional principle.
This article is aimed at assisting in the preparation and understanding of public participation in the legislative process and in particular in the Parliaments and County Assemblies. It sets out what public participation is within the provisions of Articles 10, 118, 124, 201, 221, and 232 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and the Standing Orders.
Public participation has many benefits some of which are: citizen empowerment; the generation of new, diverse and innovative ideas and actions; enhancement of citizen government relations; legitimation of government programs, appropriate prioritisation and; governments responsiveness.
Conventionally, legislative transparency provide citizens with more opportunities to review draft legislation and provide input on public policy development and implementation. However as written, the commitment could be better defined and wider in scope to realize transformative changes.
The County Assembly can as well as use alternative media such as web portals and social media like Face book page, Twitter handle and YouTube. Using such technology would open their legislative data and increase citizen understanding of the legislative process.
Conventionally, the County Assembly should be open to the public through live streaming. The County Assembly should wake up from deep slumber and play their roles of checks and balances.