Grassroots and faith based Symposium on the Gender Dimension of the 2012/2013 Electioneering in Kenya

Find the programme here

“.the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; women, the poor, the sick, the needy, the marginalised and the handicapped.” ~ Hubert Humphrey.

Kenya Moja Jamii Moja: Wewe Mkenya, Tunza Nchi Yako, Tunza Amani
Mimi Mkenya Mzalendo: Nawajali wote hasa Wapinzani Wangu! Ninataka uchaguzi wa Amani!!
Symposium supported by Mensen een et Missie, Consolation East Africa and KARDS

The Symposium for the Faith Based and Grassroots organizations on gender dimension of the 2012/2013 electioneering process will be held at Shalom House, Dagoretti Corner, Nairobi, Kenya, on the 22nd  and 23rd November 2012.

Theme: Gender Dimension of the 2012/2013  Electioneering  in Kenya

Creation and choosing of National leaders who meet the integrity threshold for leadership.

The symposium has been organized by Consolation East Africa(CEA) a Nairobi based NGO that works to build the capacity of the grassroots and the faith based organizations to address gender based challenges within Kenya. The main aim of the symposium is to explore gender related issues in relation to the 2012/2013 political process. CEA works in partnership with KARDS.

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The symposium takes into consideration that this is a politically critical year for Kenyans; as it marks the end of grand coalition government, ushers in the transition of centralized governance to devolved governance. Hence the once very familiar provincial structure based on 8 zones will give way to a new county structure that will divide Kenya into 47 administrative and semi-autonomous regions.The symposium also takes cognizance of the fact  that great milestones in addressing gender issues have been made in Kenya after the promulgation of the new constitution in 2010. The constitution providesan important yardstick in its bill of rights; it has provisions for rights and fundamental freedoms; provisions on equality and freedom from discrimination and makes a special pronouncement about human dignity.

On the other hand there have been serious reforms on the judiciary and there are attempts to introduce these reforms on the legislature in terms of the Leadership and Integrity Bill 2012 which has been the subject of great controversy to date. The main purpose of the leadership and integrity bill was to lock out corrupt people who had perfected the art of bad leadership and impunity from becoming leaders. This bill however is in danger as the legislature have torn down the integrity threshold and have made it possible for all aspirants to be eligible to vie for the next elections unless barred by the constitution. This means that with the integrity threshold watered down by the legislature the adage practices in terms of political electioneering violence, crimes against humanity including sexual crimes, vote rigging and abuse of office  may be normalized.

Drawing from past experiences in Kenya, there is need to address the present anomaly by concentrating on choosing leaders with high integrity and to understand in depth how the new political landscape will be shaped by good leaders in accordance to sections six and seven of the constitution. CEA hopes to engage the new political dispensation by ensuring that human rights and gender issues are taken into consideration as Kenya carves its future destiny. In this case leadership is key.

The specific topics to be discussed include

1. Human Rights a) Chapter four of the constitution on the bill of rights b) exploring the concept of human rights based approach to governace

2. Leadership and integrity a) chapter six of the constitution on leadership and integrity b)  leadership and integrity bill 2012

3. Representation of the people a) chapter 7 of the constitution b) political parties act 2011 c) the elections act 2011

4. Devolved governance a) chapter 11 of the constitution b) Intergovernmental relations Act 2012 and c) transition to devolved governance act 2012

5. Public finance: a) Chapter 12 of the constitution b) Public financial management bill 2012

6. Politics and Peace a) harmonious co-existence amongst different faiths b) harmonious inter-enthnic co-existence c) harmonious co-existence amidst political differences d) harmonious co-existence amongst different political party aspirants and their supporters e) National accord and reconciliation act 2008

7. The gender dimension of politics a) patriachy and gender equity in politics b) female participartion in politics and development c) healthy inter-gender collaboration in politics and development d) working to transform structures that  sanction gender inequality c) addresing electioneering gender based violence.

Faith based and grassroots organizations are welcome to the symposium. Kindly express your interest for the symposium by October 30th 2012. Contact us at

Physical Location: Shalom House, off Ngong’ Rd.
Address: P.O.Box 16139 – 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Cell Phone: +254 720 812638 / +254 736 935387

Email: consolationeastafrica@gmail.com

Public Finance and Performance Challenges in Kenya

Published  in the East African by John Lakin 9th June 2012

On May 20, Business Daily ran a story entitled, “State agencies fail to spend budget billions as year closes.” The article referenced a budget execution report produced by the Office of the Controller of Budget in Kenya.

Before we talk about the article, let’s talk about the report.  Actually, the report, like the website of the Office of the Controller of Budget, is invisible. It has been made available to some key actors and media houses, but not to the public. Although the Controller is a public office reporting on the use of public money, the public is apparently not allowed to read and analyse this information directly, without the filter of the media.

We are supposed to be in a new dispensation in Kenya. The Constitution (Article 201) tells us that, in this new dispensation, public finances will be managed in accordance with principles of openness, accountability and public participation.

What has happened so far in this new dispensation? Last year, Treasury presented the budget estimates a month late to parliament. This year, they were presented on time, but it is now June and they are still not available to the public. The Budget Policy Statement, on the other hand, was presented late to parliament and posted even later online for public consumption. The Supplementary Budget from last year is available to the public at a cost of over $40, but is not online.

And now this: The budget execution reports are not available to the public. The Controller does not even have a website.
Somehow, it doesn’t feel like a new dispensation.

The new dispensation must be operationalised by a revised Public Financial Management Bill, and such a Bill is now in parliament for review. But this Bill, in its current form, does not guarantee that the public will have access to the Budget Policy Statement before parliament reviews and approves it. Nor does it guarantee the public access to the Budget Estimates before those are approved by parliament.

The problems run deeper, though. Even when information is made available, it is often incomprehensible or confusing. Many Treasury documents consist entirely of tables with no narrative, for example, making them difficult to comprehend. The PFM Bill does nothing to make budget documents user-friendly to the wider public.

Now, let us return to the Controller’s report. The headline figure is that the physical infrastructure sector has spent less than 40 per cent of its total budget through the third quarter. I am not sure what the physical infrastructure “sector” is: Treasury has defined nine sectors for the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, but there seem to be 10 sectors here, and they have somewhat different names.

Nevertheless, infrastructure is the worst performing of the 10 sectors reported. Moreover, the Ministry of Transport has spent less than 30 per cent of its budget through the third quarter.

Legacy

This comes as a surprise: The Kibaki administration has touted infrastructure as a key legacy, yet the government is not able to execute the budget it receives. It might be useful to know where specifically the bottlenecks are in the infrastructure sector, but of course, to know that, we would need to see a full report from the Controller.

It is also surprising that the Ministry of Water ranks as a poor performer, given that Kenya lags behind in achieving Millennium Development Goal 7, particularly those targets related to access to clean water and basic sanitation. According to 2008/2009 data, only 63 per cent of Kenyans have access to clean water.

A final surprise in this data is that the Ministry of Planning is one of the worst performers at the ministry level. By the end of the third quarter, Planning had spent less than 7 per cent of its budget. That is shocking in and of itself, but what is inconceivable is that the Ministry of Planning was ranked the top performer in the government’s performance contract rankings only months ago. How can a government agency that does not spend any money be a top performer?

To be fair, the performance ranking was from the previous fiscal year, but it is still hard to comprehend how a top-performing agency in one fiscal year is ranked second from the bottom in budget execution in the next fiscal year. Do institutions really radically change their performance capacity in such a short time? Or is there something fishy about the way the performance data is gathered?

The release of the Controller’s report is a nice metaphor for the degree of public access to financial information in Kenya today. Government does not make public key financial information. And when it does release information, it is often in a form that breeds as much confusion as understanding. Welcome to the new dispensation: looks a lot like the old dispensation.

Public expenditure notes here,

Here

Here

Here

Public goods theory

Growth and public expenditure