Kisumu residents urged to embrace public participation forums to enhance accountability and transparency in service delivery

Kara in partnership with Hanns Siedel Foundation (HSF) held its 111th Bi-Monthly Talk Series forum in Kisumu County. The theme of discussion was: “The role of Resident Associations & Community Groups towards Strengthening Accountability and Effective Service Delivery” Speakers who addressed the forum were Mr. Samba, Nixon Otieno, Board Chairman & CEO-City of Kisumu Urban Areas Association (CKUAA), Mr. Robert Owino, Executive Director, Africa Higher Education Research Institute (AHERI) and Mr. Wilson Nindo, Director, Public Affairs, Kisumu County Government.

Speaking at the forum, Kisumu County Director for Public Participation Mr. Wilson Nindo, stated that in a bid to strengthen public participation, Kisumu County is among the first counties to prepare the Kisumu County Public Participation Policy which has since been passed by the County Assembly. The County is also in the process of developing the Access to Information Policy. On this front, he encouraged residents to be actively involved in public participation forums in the county to share their views on matters of development.

He added that previously public participation was organized at the ward level, but currently the forums are taken to the village units in form of focused group discussions that has resulted to quality debate as opposed to the ward level that was crowded and sometimes chaotic. He reiterated that going forward, county activities involving the public such as county budget review outlook paper and development of County fiscal strategy paper will follow the same trajectory. He also noted that the County Government launched the Huduma Mashinani, a citizen-based dialogue forum that aims to create a bridge between the people and the County Executive by creating a platform of dialogue and participatory development where citizens can offer feedback on government services, programs and projects.

Mr. Samba Nixon stated that Resident Associations and community groups need to collaborate with the County government and other stakeholders to address service delivery challenges, and foster partnerships that enhance delivery of essential services in Kisumu County. He added that the City of Kisumu Urban Areas Association (CKUAA), mobilizes and coordinates the participation of residents and private sector stakeholders in the sustainable development of the City of Kisumu as prioritized by the Kenya Vision 2030 and the City of Kisumu Integrated Urban Development Plan.

Mr. Robert Owino, informed participants that the Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides a strong legal foundation for social accountability & good governance. It guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms, and the right to participate in decision-making processes. He urged residents to embrace public participation forums to enhance accountability and transparency in governance and noted that it was the responsibility of residents to prioritize their development needs by voicing them.

At the end of the forum, it was agreed that KARA will continue working together with the County Government and other partners to strengthen the capacity of Resident Associations to enable them have meaningful engagements with the county government in addressing service delivery concerns affecting various neighbourhoods. The Resident Associations in Kisumu also agreed to hold bi-monthly meetings to review and follow up on service delivery issues that were raised and presented to the County Government.

You can watch a recap of the forum here->

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