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Ikolomani By-Election: The experience of an Election Observer

Posted by on 25th May 2011

Categories: 2012 Elections Citizen Engagement Constituency News

By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

There are probably a lot of good things that can be said about the Ikolomani by-election.
Electronic registration made for quick identification voters and it also made it possible
for the officers to identify voters who were registered at more than one polling station
and in so doing reduce rigging. Professionalism of the Interim Independent Election
Commission (IIEC) officials seemed to make the by-election a faster and more pleasant
particularly with the high voter turnout which is unusual in by-elections.

However the by-elections were not without controversy, particularly over campaign
financing and allegations of voter bribery, and this raises the issue of the role money
plays in elections, especially in the lead in up 2012.

The Institute for Education and Democracy (IED) had a team of election monitors on the
ground a month before the by-election and election observers on the ground a day before
the actual poll began.  In a briefing between the two teams, the poll observers asked the election monitoring
team the major issue on which they thought the election would hinge. The election
monitors unambiguous response was money.

The link between election campaigns and the dolling  out of money by political candidates seems to have become the norm. One that is so ingrained in the
public consciousness that even very young children mimic what they see. On the
day of the election while the convoy of observers drove from one polling station
to the next, children who couldn’t have been more than ten, ran beside the convoy
shouting ‘Campaign Leta Pesa’ (campaign bring money).

In any election two things are true candidates need votes, certainly to win an election or
in this case a by-election, and because of high levels of poverty a majority of the voting
public require money for their immediate needs. This has created a dynamic in which the
way campaign funds are used distorts the proper democratic process leading to a situation
where voters sell their votes and electoral fidelity for short-term financial compensation.
Effectively selling long-term developmental outcomes for immediate short-term financial
compensation.

During any election period candidates need votes, voters demand is high therefore the
stakes are higher and voters get more money for their votes, of course the money never
lasts for the five years between elections. After the elections demand for votes is low,
voters already having sold their vote have little to bargaining power and lose the moral
authority to hold their members of parliament to account. Issue based elections and
campaigns are eschewed in favour of candidates with money.  Additionally candidates for
election have had to offer more and more and more money to entice voters to their camp,
and no question is asked as to where the money is coming from.

Even where money distorts democratic process voters are still making a choice between
candidates, but the choice is no longer based on rational, fair and equal examination of
competing policy issues. This may be something we want to think about in this period
when the electoral laws are being drafted.

Hansard Highlights Week of February 13th, 2011

Posted by on 19th April 2011

Categories: Constituency News Corruption Hansard Hansard Analysis

Nominated MP Rachel Shebesh asked a crucial question given the disparity between the rhetoric how can
the women of Kenya take the government with regards to their commitment to the inclusion of
women?

PRIME MINISTERIAL STATEMENT: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW
CONSTITUTION: REALIZING DEVOLUTION

The Prime Minister (Mr. Raila): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to focus particularly on
devolution. I would like to make a brief statement on an area that I strongly feel that our country
needs to start giving some serious thought to as we prepare to implement priority areas of our
new Constitution.

One of the highlights of our new Constitution is the provision for the devolved system of
Government. The creation of the devolved Government is one of the far-reaching reforms in
our governance structure which if efficiently implemented, has the potential to enhance Kenya’s
stability and development.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the reforms envisaged under devolution will have to be implemented in
a manner that is consistent and coordinated across the national Government. The transition needs
to be properly planned to avoid any disruption in the provision of essential Government services.
There are issues we need to start exercising our minds about if we are to make devolution a
success.

One of the requirements of the devolved Government is that one third of the seats in the County
Assembly and one third of the positions in the County Government will have to be occupied by
women. That is the law.

As I travel across the country, I get the feeling that this message has not sunk down enough and
very little sensitization is going on. Women have for long been relegated to the role of observers
in a political game dominated by men. Kenya’s politics has over the time become very masculine
and quite physical. It has also become a very expensive affair. Because of these two features, our
women have largely been locked out of politics.

Women supported this Constitution so wholeheartedly because it marked the beginning of their
long sought liberation. It guarantees that one third of all elected or appointed posts in Government
go to women. It binds political parties to pay special attention to gender parity, an obvious
departure from what has been the norm. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to make an appeal for
due attention to be paid to the provisions on women.

I feel the time has come for our institutions and our international supporters to embark on a
deliberate campaign of preparing women for the roles they have to take up, particularly in politics
in the coming elections. It is my belief that women’s entry into politics, with the desired numbers,
will see them make a mark in other areas of our economy and public life.

Mrs. Shebesh: Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Prime Minister has clearly stated that the provision
for one-third representation of either gender is now a Constitutional issue and that in the
process of implementation of the New Constitution; realizing devolution, this is an area that the
Government is taking very seriously.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am holding a petition that was given to the Speaker by 19 women
organizations over the recent appointments. How will Kenyan women take the Government
seriously when it is just giving lip service to the one-third affirmative action policy but not doing
it in practice? We are tired of lip service. Could the Prime Minister tell us concretely, in line
with the current appointments and continuous appointments that happen, where women must
always make noise— This is now a Constitutional matter. How can the women of Kenya take this
Government seriously on this issue?

2. The government has given is 1.5 billion shillings to constituencies and another 300 million
to financial institutions for the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) in Tharaka
constituency it turns youth were being asked to give money before they could access the funds
read the Assistant Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports response to this. It would be interesting
to know the experience of youth trying to access the YEDF in other constituencies.

DISBURSEMENT OF YEDF MONEY IN THARAKA CONSTITUENCY

Mr. Mwiru: asked the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs:-
(a) How much funds have been disbursed to Tharaka by the Youth Enterprise Development
Fund (YEDF) through the Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme (C-YES) and financial
institutions (FIs); and,
(b) Whether he could table a list of financial institutions involved in the disbursement of
funds as well as the list of beneficiaries, whether individual or group(s), since inception
of the Fund.

The Assistant Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports (Ms. Ndeti): (a) The YEDF has disbursed
a total of Kshs9.8 million to Tharaka. Out of that amount, Kshs2 million has been disbursed
through the Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme (C-YES) and Kshs7.8 million has been
disbursed through the financial institutions. The YEDF has partnered with three financial
intermediaries that are present in Tharaka. They are South Imenti Credit Company, Business
Initiatives and Management Assistance Service (BIMAS) and Kenya Women Finance Trust.

Mr. Mwiru: Mr. Speaker, Sir, in 2009, one of the financial institutions mentioned here, the
South Imenti Credit Company, started collecting money in form of savings from the youth of that
area. That exercise was supposed to encourage the youth to get loans from them. I would like to
know whether it is a Government policy for the youth to pay Government institutions before they
secure a loan.

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, money from YEDF is supposed to be given to the youth to
enable them start their own businesses. We are trying to help the youth. So, I do not see how
an institution would ask the youth to save money so that they can use the money that the
Government has set aside for them. I assure the hon. Member, who mentioned the matter to me
last week, that we are looking into it as a Ministry. I want to give him comfort that this time
round, we have given out Kshs1.5 billion to constituencies and only Kshs300 million to banks
and other financial intermediaries.

Mr. Chepkitony: Thank you Mr. Speaker, Sir. I would like the Assistant Minister to tell this
House how much interest is charged when money is disbursed through the CYES and financial
intermediaries. How much do those two institutions charge as interest?

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, the banks are supposed to charge a minimal interest of about 8
per cent. The Fund gives loans to these intermediaries at 1 per cent interest rate. They use the
7 per cent difference to cover administration costs and mitigate losses that may arise from the
clientele, which are perceived as a risk. The intermediary should shoulder 100 per cent risk of this
component and can lead up to Kshs1 million.

Mr. Langat: Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Fund is meant to help the youth in our constituencies.

Unfortunately, there is no sensitization of the youth in the constituencies on how these funds can
be obtained. Could the Assistant Minister tell us what they have been doing to sensitize the youth
on the existence of this Fund?

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have already employed two youths from every constituency
to work with the youth on the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. From the end of last year,
we have been going around the country, county by county, with the Minister and the Assistant
Minister, to sensitize the youth on the importance of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. I
can assure you we are on the ground and we are giving our employees motorbikes, so that they
can access all the areas in their constituencies.

Mr. Wambugu: Mr. Speaker, Sir, indeed, if the Youth Enterprise Development
Fund is used properly, it can help alleviate poverty in the rural areas. Who comprises the
committee that sit at the constituency and who nominates the members to those committees?
What part is the Member of Parliament supposed to play in the running of this Fund?

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Member of Parliament should be the patron. The
Fund is under the District Youth Officers. If it is within a council, the Town Clerk runs the Fund.
I am prepared to provide a list of the names of the members of the committees.

Dr. Kones: Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has said that the Ministry has employed
some youths. I know that these youths were taken as interns on contract basis. Does the Ministry
intend to employ them on permanent basis?

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are trying to create employment for the youth. It is better for
us to start taking them as interns while looking at the long-term when we can employ them
on permanent basis. We have created more than 420 jobs for the youth of this country in our
Ministry.

Mr. Mwiru: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have a scenario where the youth are paying money to these
institutions that I have mentioned. Will it be possible for the Ministry to ask these institutions to
refund this money to the youth? They have suffered so much and they are not getting the loans.

Ms. Ndeti: Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are going to look into the Member’s complaints against these
financial institutions. I want to assure him that we are there for the youth and we will not allow
anyone to take money from the youth.

Mzalendo Vox Pop: Cyprian from Mwala Constituency

Posted by on 15th March 2011

Categories: Constituency News Vox Pop

Mzalendo Vox Pop is a feature where we open up our blog to our readers to share their views on their constituency or on matters related to Parliament.

About me: I am Cyprian from Mwala constituency.  I voted in 2007, one of the largest mistakes I made then by looking at the party the candidates belonged to instead of the individual.

Your constituency : Mwala constituency is marred by all the problems that can be found in a few constituencies in Kenya.
  • Majority of the roads are in pathetic state. Most of the roads are filed with gravel. There is nearly no tarmacked road. Most of the bridges broke down some years ago, and have not been replaced.
  • There is no tap water.  In fact in my location there is no even a single bore-hole, and that applies to the majority of the locations in Mwala constituency. Most of the rivers, the source of water, are dry and people have to travel for long distances looking for unclean water!
  • Majority of the population in the constituency live below the poverty line. They can rarely afford a single meal a day. Majority rely on subsistence farming, which has been impaired by the long dry seasons. NGO’s and even the government are still distributing some food stuff in the constituency.  This has not been effective because it’s not sustainable.
  • The health facilities are also in pathetic state in addition to being few and far between. For example, from my home area, we have to walk for five kilometers to get to the nearest government dispensary! The health facilities are also poor equipped. The few personnel available are not even well qualified to provide professional health services.
  • The same applies to the education sector in the constituency. Most primary and secondary schools are understaffed, some preferring to employ untrained teachers. Additionally, most lack necessary facilities.
  • The constituency has a bursary fund which is unfairly distributed to those who have “connections”. In fact it never reaches to those who really deserve it.
  • The CDF funds were/are being misappropriated and even an audit and investigation is required from KACC. An example is some project (e.g. Kwa-Nguta in Makiliva sub-location, Mbiuni location, where piped water was supposed to be developed. The project is market completed successfully, and yet it was never started.  Where did the money allocated to that project go?

In a nutshell, there is no development projects which have had a positive impact to the constituents since Kenya got independence, or probably in the history of Kenya.


Your MP
: Just like all the previous MPs in the constituency, Hon. Muoki has been a joke to the constituency.  The problems mentioned above paints clearly his progress, which definitely has been negative.  I would definitely not vote for him again in the next general election. At the moment I don’t have anyone in mind, but I would never elect a candidate based on his party, nor any of the older generation. We want a new “kid” from the block.

Message to your MP
:
I wouldn’t want to meet him, but if I did, I’d tell him to honorably step down and call for a by-election. I hope my constituents have learned something regarding voting for MPs in our constituency, just like I have. Next time we should vote wisely.

Task Force on Devolved Government

Posted by on 24th February 2011

Categories: Citizen Engagement Constituency News

Have an opinion on how counties should be run?  The Task Force on Devolved Government has commenced sittings and you can find their details here.

You can also submit your views over email: devolvedgovt-at-gmail.com, OR
devolvedgovt-at-localgovernment.go.ke

Strategic Plan for Kabete Constituency

Posted by on 11th January 2011

Categories: Constituency News

We came across this well-done strategic plan for Kabete constituency which was finalized in 2006-7 .  We are wondering whether it was actually implemented?

Turkana North CDF – kshs 50 million embezzled

Posted by on 6th January 2011

Categories: CDF Constituency News

Turkana North received the largest share of CDF funds in the 2010 FY to the tune of Kshs 107 million, a reflection of the fact that it is one of the the poorest constituencies in the country with approximately 281,542 poor people out of a constituency population of 313,748 according to government statistics.

So it is shocking to read in the local papers that despite the pressing needs and the resources allocated to the constituency via the constituency development funds, that kshs 50 million of allocated development funds for Turkana North constituency have allegedly been embezzled.

The CDF chairman and the current MP John Munyes are said to be behind the mismanagement of the funds. Allegations of mismanagement of the Turkana North CDF funds and abuse of office, particularly by the Chair of the John Lokumachom (Lowa), have appeared on Mzalendo as early as 2008, it is good that an audit has finally been done by local organizations (though one wonders what the government CDF audit office is doing?) – hopefully the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission will take the investigations further.

Freedom of Information and the Boundaries Report

Posted by on 2nd December 2010

Categories: 2012 Elections Constituency News

By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

If you believe what you read in the papers, Kenya is in a constitutional crisis.

As of Saturday 27th November 2010, neither the Commission on Revenue Allocation nor the Commission for Implementation of the Constitution had been established, the deadline is now 3 days past due. Parliament rejected the names of the nominees on Friday. The papers report that nominees were rejected for lack of regional balance, partisan politics and vested succession interests.
Meanwhile the term of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission has expired and the constitutionally mandated Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission is yet to be formed. Kenya is currently without an Electoral or Boundaries Commission.
In the papers, there have been varying claims about the determination of boundaries – some MPs have claimed that the new boundaries are unfair, others have claimed that the constitutional formula for determination of new constituency boundaries was not followed or was followed incorrectly, while others have lauded the Commission’s work. The Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission has compiled a report that would put determination of these issues to rest however the report has not been made public.
Whilst there has been massive media coverage of the both the boundaries issue and the failure to establish to the two Commissions within the set timelines, we have no official word from the government. Consequently there is a lot we do not know.

Things we don’t know but would know if we  the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission’s boundaries report was public:
• The details of the boundaries of the new constituencies.
• Exactly how these new boundaries were arrived at.
• Whether the criteria used to delineate the boundaries of the new constituencies are constitutional

With regards to the selection of persons for the Commission on Revenue Allocation and the Commission for Implementation of the Constitution political horse-trading is to be expected, this goes on even in established democracies. However if the process for selection were completely transparent from beginning to end the public would know for sure that the selection process was fair, and the best candidates for the job were selected given the political realities of the country.  As it stands the information gap makes it impossible to determine  fact from fiction.
Article 35 (3) of the new constitution obligates the government to publish and publicise any important information affecting the nation. The boundaries report contains information that is affecting the nation. Whatever is going on with the establishment of the 2 Commissions affects the nation. So we ask – what is really going on?

Release the Boundaries Commission Report

Posted by on 17th November 2010

Categories: 2012 Elections Constituency News Kenya Constitution Members of Parliament

By Mzalendo contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

On 10th November 2010 the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission’s proposal for the distribution of the 80 new constituencies was leaked. Since then a hornet’s nest has been stirred up.  The Commission’s proposal on the boundaries of the 80 new constituencies has drawn fire from MPs as well as from within the Commission itself.  On Saturday 13th November 2010 the Commission was asked by Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to explain how they arrived at the yet to be gazetted constituencies. Yesterday, 16th November 2010, two MPs successfully applied for an injunction blocking the gazettement of the new constituencies.

The delineation of constituencies is a controversial and potentially inflammatory issue. As the constituencies determine not only electoral blocks, but also the allocation and distribution of state resources. According to the Standard, 11th November 2010, the distribution of the new constituencies is – Rift Valley will have 26 new constituencies bring the total constituencies in the Rift Valley to 76. Nairobi, Nyanza and Western Province each will get 9 new constituencies and will have a total of 17, 33, 41 constituencies respectively. Eastern Province will have 7 new constituencies, creating a total 43 constituencies in the Province. North Eastern will get 6 new constituencies and a total of 17. Finally Coast and Central will both get 4 new constituencies bringing their total, 29 and 33 constituencies respectively.

Why are more constituencies being created, many would argue that there are already too many? Article 97 (1) of the new of the constitution provides for 290 elected seats in the next National Assembly to be elected in 2012.  There are currently only 210, and herein lies the impetus for the creation for an extra 80 constituencies. The creation of these extra constituencies is provided for by Article 89 (1) of the constitution that states that there shall be two hundred and ninety constituencies for the purposes of the next parliamentary elections.

So is the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission mandated to form new constituencies? The mandate of Commission is described in the old constitution under which it was created.  Its mandate is to make recommendations to parliament on the delimitation of constituencies and local authority electoral units on the basis of equality of votes; to making recommendations to parliament on administrative boundaries including fixing, reviewing and variation of districts and other boundaries, as well as other roles as determined by Parliament.

The new constitution seems to broaden the role of the Commission, though Article 27 (1) of the Sixth Schedule of the new constitution clearly states that the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission shall continue to function as constituted under the old constitution and prohibits the Commission from determining the boundaries of the counties (Schedule 6, Article 27.1.a). The constitution clearly states that the Commission ‘shall determine the boundaries of constituencies and wards using the criteria mentioned in this Constitution’ (Schedule 6, Article 27.1.b) only stating that its review of boundaries should not result in the loss of already existing constituencies (Schedule 6, Article 27.4).

The criteria by which the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission arrived at their determination of the proposed 80 new constituencies should be measured against the formula provided in Article 89 (5) and (6) of the new constitution. Article 89 (5) and (6) provide that the boundaries of each constituency should be such that the number of inhabitants each constituency nearly equal in number. Though the articles provide for variance in population distribution because of geographical factors etc, the constitution limits how much the variance can be from constituency to constituency i.e. not more than 40% between cities and sparsely populated areas and not more than 30% for other areas.

Given that the creation new of constituencies is allowed by the constitution and further that Commission is mandated to determine the boundaries of new the constituencies. The question that remains is whether the criteria to determine the new constituencies is aligned with the new constitution.

So let the report be released / gazetted so that we the public can have a better understanding of whether the criteria has been met or not.

Mzalendo Q&A with MP Dr. Wilbur Ottichilo of Emuhaya

Posted by on 7th October 2010

Categories: CDF Constituency News Members of Parliament MP Participation MP Profile

MP Wilbur Ottichilo of Emuhaya constituency recently agreed to respond to questions posed by Mzalendo about his activities and his constituency. We welcome his willingness to engage and if you are a MP who is interested in doing the same, please email us – info-at-mzalendo-dot-com

What made you leave your role as Director General for Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), an agency of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and run for Parliament?

I wanted to offer new people centered leadership in my constituency that would focus on socio-economic development through participatory process that aims to empower the communities to formulate and implement their own development agenda. In brief, my goal was to empower people to take their own development destiny in their own hands.

In my career which spans over 30 years, I had held various senior managerial and leadership positions which exposed me to various leadership and development challenges and in the process I gained a lot of experience in modern and democratic approaches to leadership and management. I therefore aspired to use this vast experience to spearhead development agenda in my constituency which has remained poor since independence due to poor leadership which focused on politics of divide, impoverish and rule. My wish was to reverse this trend.

Being a Natural Resource and Environmental Scientist, I had throughout my career written numerous documents and reports where I made numerous policy recommendations for implementation by my government but none of them was implemented because there were no members of parliament who were interested in enacting policies and laws related to natural resource management and environment. I therefore decided that I go to parliament myself to articulate these issues- particularly those that concern science, technology and innovation. In my two years stint in parliament, I have played a key role in pushing for the enactment of National Land Use Policy and Biosafety Law. I have also fielded numerous questions concerning the conservation of our resources- particularly forests, lakes and wildlife. I was also involved in the preparation of Africa’s Position on Climate Change which was presented during the World Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. Currently I am working in collaboration with various civic societies to prepare a Climate Change Bill which I intend to table in parliament before the end of the year. I am also working on motions on space and Geo-Information Policies.

What Parliamentary Committee(s) have you served on since you became a Member of Parliament? How would you describe your experience on Committees so far?

I serve on two committees: Education, Science and Technology and Transport, Housing and Public Works. My experience on these committees is that they are very important in addressing national issues which cannot be dealt with exhaustively on the floor of the house. It is actually in these committees that the key oversight business of the parliament is transacted. My concern is that these committees lack experienced and seasoned technical support from parliament. Majority of the staff are less experienced and are also involved in numerous parliamentary duties. Also these committees spent more time investigating various issues that arise in their respective sectors. Less effort is devoted to policy issues! Lastly it is sad that the selection of members to different committees is not necessarily based on their expertise and experience in the respectively sectors and as such significant number of members do not take these committees very seriously!

Apart from these Committees, I am also a member of Pan-African Parliamentarian Association on Renewable Energy and Climate Change. The association focuses on issues of renewable energy and climate change in Africa. I also participate in numerous Ad-hoc meetings and committees that address specific parliamentary issues- particularly on education, science and technology and climate change.

Tell us a bit about your constituency. Emuhaya is the second largest single constituency in Western Kenya. Insecurity, poor infrastructure, and youth unemployment are major challenges for your constituents. How have you addressed these challenges as an MP?

Details concerning my constituency- Emuhaya are given on our website: www.emuhaya.co.ke. In brief my constituency which is also a district is in Vihiga County in Western part of Kenya. The constituency has an area of about 174 km2 and has a population of over 230,000, with an average density of about 1500 people (highest rural density in the country and world) per square kilometer. The average land parcel per household (average of six people) is 0.25ha.The main form of livelihood is through subsistence farming of maize and beans. The poverty level is quite high- about 65% and majority of the population are the youth- 76%.

The challenges my constituency faces are poor infrastructure, declining education standards, poor health care, unemployment and ever increasing population. To address these challenges, I initially embarked on the preparation of the first ever Strategic Plan (2008-2018) to be prepared in the constituency in a participatory manner. The Plan preparation process involved most of the key elected leaders, opinion leaders, public administration, sectoral technical officers and the religious leaders. The Plan was completed and officially launched at Bunyore Girls’ High School on 27th December 2008. For details regarding the Plan, see our website. Since the launching of the plan, I have devoted my time and energies to its implementation. For the achievements achieved in each sector to date, please check at the website. Overall I am very happy with the implementation of the plan and we expect to implement more than 70% of the plan by the end of my term- in 2012.

My strategy for bringing accelerated socio-economic development in my constituency has been to work directly with people. First I have had to change their mindset through capacity building that development is the responsibility of the government and that the M.P. is the mother and father of the constituency and is responsible for every development initiative. I had to encourage them to be responsible for their own development by empowering them to participate in the formulation and implementation of their own development activities. Our development motto is: We leave idle talking and take action to better our lives- “Khurule Mumang’ana khutsie mbikhole.”

You have engaged in various activities using ICT to foster development. Can you describe the constituency mapping initiative you undertook in your constituency? How successful was it? What challenges did you face in implementing it? Is there a link where the public can access the results of the initiative?

ICT is the engine of development in the 21st Century and information if important and crucial for rational planning and management of resources. Therefore one of my goals on election as M.P. was to create essential database on my constituency to form the base or foundation of development planning. I also set out to promote ICT awareness and training for our youth in our schools and for the ordinary people. I have been able to partly achieve this through my own personal initiative. Through my own-funding I have been able to establish two ICT training clinics for our youth in the constituency. We have also introduced computer training in a number of our secondary schools. I have been able to achieve this through a community based CBO known as Bunyore Community Development Organization (BUCODEO). For details please check on our website.

Being a geo-information and satellite technology specialist, I have also established a GIS database for the constituency based on most recent satellite imagery. We use this database for planning. Since the GIS technology is computer-based and most of my people cannot access to the same or have no training in the same, I have prepared simple and essential maps that are commonly referred to and availed then at the website for general use. I am also in the process of preparing an atlas with essential maps and statistics that will be available soon in hard copies.

Can you describe ways in which you directly engage with your citizens when not in Parliament e.g. visits to your constituency etc.?

The key complain and concern of my constituents when I was campaigning was that the previous M.Ps rarely visited the constituency once elected and when they did, it was a technical appearance where a few lucky people were given some money in form of a bribe to continue popularizing the M.P. and dealing ruthlessly with anybody who dared criticize the M.P. I therefore resolved that if elected I will spend all my time away from parliament in my constituency. This is what I am doing to date. Virtually all weekends and holidays I am in the constituency. While in the constituency I visit development projects, I visit schools and talk to students, I attend major social functions including funerals, I hold meetings with various key stakeholders and spare time for people to meet me in my local office to greet me and discuss with me on various personal or community issues.

If Emuhaya constituents have complaints or reports about the use of CDF funds, where’s the best place to direct them?

CDF funds are very crucial for the development of our constituency. These are funds that are availed to us by government to initiate and implement community based projects and activities. To effectively and efficiently make use of these funds the communities have been empowered through capacity building to formulate and implement their own projects while the CDFC monitors and evaluates their implementation. We operate in a transparent manner and we announce in a local newsletter produced by my office on how the money received has been allocated to different projects and give implementation status of each project. If there is any misappropriation of funds, it occurs at the project implementation level and in this case the community leaders responsible for the project are held responsible. When we initially started giving money to the communities to implement their own projects we had several reports and observation of poor use of the resources given. But through our intensified project monitoring and evaluation, the cases of poor resource utilization have drastically reduced. Also any misappropriation of any CDF funds by any project is usually reported to us by the local community and we immediately take the necessary measures. Thus over time we are now witnessing increasing accountability on how CDF funds are utilized.

For details on how we have utilized our CDF funds in the last two years I have been in parliament please check on our website. Overall personally I am happy and satisfied that we have used our funds very prudently and the socio-economic impact is evident of the ground. We had made main roads in the constituency all weather and motorable. We have drastically improved our health care system. We have renovated numerous school buildings and constructed classrooms and we have embarked on a very ambitious program to improve academic performance of our schools. Lastly our security has greatly been enhanced through establishment of security posts- manned by Administrative Police in all main market areas.

After your election you set up a website for Emuhaya. How important do you think it is for a constituency to have a web presence? When it was active, did the website help you engage with your constituents and other stakeholders?

The goal of having a website for our constituency is to let the people from my constituency-particularly in the Diaspora to be inform on continuous basis on what development initiatives we are undertaking in our constituency and to afford them a direct opportunity to provide their views and recommendations on what strategies we should adopt to fast-track development in Emuhaya in all sectors. We are also using the website to solicit for financial support for the implementation of various project proposals we have prepared and avail fundamental information on Emuhaya for use by interested parties including researchers.

To date the website has been visited by numerous people in and outside Kenya. We have received a lot of compliments and recommendations on the same. Through the website we have been able to get in touch with various professionals from Emuhaya who are in U.S.A. and Europe among other places. In conclusion we are proud about our website and the role is playing in highlighting our development activities in Emuhaya.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a MP to date? The most rewarding?

Since I become the M.P. I have and continue to face numerous challenges. Among the challenges I initially faced were:

* The culture of giving of money and cooking food for all manner of people
* The expectation that you can solve personal problems of all your constituents
* High financial and job rewards expectations from my supporters
* Pressure from my supporters to alienate and ignore all those who did not support me or opposed me in election campaign
* The fact that people would be unhappy with me if I told them the true on any issue or on their requests or recommendations. Somehow people want to be given hope through flattery and promising them what you know will not happen!
* Unfair and negative criticism and hatred.
* Lack of transparency and accountability among some of my supporters
* The culture of sycophancy where people praise you unnecessarily and don’t tell you the truth!

Over time I have learnt through experience on how to handle the above challenges but one thing I have vowed not to compromise on is to tell lies (dishonest) or be sucked into corruption tendencies or deals. I have remained steadfast, honest and down to earth and committed. Lastly the most rewarding achievement to date is that the people of Emuhaya are fast discarding their culture of begging and expecting handouts and are now striving to make a living through their own struggle. People from all backgrounds now appreciate my efforts to socio-economically transform the community and are proud of me. This is what is giving more energy and determination to work even harder for my people of Emuhaya.

Mzalendo Video Vox Pop Series: Makadara Constituency

Posted by on 24th September 2010

Categories: Citizen Engagement Constituency News MP Participation Vox Pop

Mzalendo in partnership with the Kuweni Serious team will be traveling around various constituencies to get a sense of how Kenyan voters feel about their MP, about issues facing their constituency, and about solutions they would like to see in place. We welcome your feedback.

This video was filmed in Makadara  before the recent  by-election which Gideon Mbuvi won.

The immediate former MP is Dickson Wathika.  For more about Makadara constituency see their constituency website.