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Lobby groups decry low public participation on national budget process

With focus on Water projects in  counties in the Region,the lobby that conducted survey revealed several stalled mega projects in the Ministry  of water.

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National Treasury.PHOTO/Courtesy.

Lobby groups from Rift Valley Region have decried the low level of public Participation in National Budget process.

The groups under the umbrella Rift Valley Region Budget Hub noted that the move has seen slow pace implementation of projects.

With focus on Water projects in  counties in the Region,the lobby that conducted survey revealed several stalled mega projects in the Ministry  of water.

The projects include Aror and Kimwarer dams as well as Itare Dam that have had issues of corruption and several court cases.

According to Rift Valley Region Budget Hub,such projects would be successful if citizens participated in the national Budget process.

It’s for this reason that the group has written a memorandum to the National Assembly.

“Low public participation: Generally there is very low public participation in the National Budget process.Apart from residents of Nairobi and few elite groups who have access to digital
mechanisms of presenting their views, a big population is left out of the processes” states the Memorundum.

Through the Memorundum,the lobby wants the National Assembly to facilitate public consultations at the devolved units.

That the National Assembly should consider partnering with County Governments to seek views on
the national budget during the county government-led public participation forums.

In addition,the National Assembly should direct the regional water bodies should to involve citizens in
conceptualization of budget priorities.

There is also need to integrate public participation at all stages of project management.

The lobby groups also want the National Assembly to interrogate the level of details in the budget estimates and task the National treasury to publish more details in line with the global standards for open budgets.

According to them,the budget is a very important tool for fulfilling citizens’ rights, and in this case the right to clean,safe and adequate water.

“We call upon parliament to strictly apply the principles of prudence, accountability and equity as spelt out in Article 201 of the Constitution as they review, deliberate and approve the
Budget Estimates 2021/ 2022.On our part, we will continue to mobilize citizen and CSOs to analyze the budget and provide feedback to the National Assembly and other relevant actors” they stated in the Memorundum.

On the delayed projects,the lobby groups want National Assembly to  strengthen oversight on implementation of Water Projects to mitigate the delays and the increasing risk of corruption,fast-track investigation on projects affected by corruption and contractual issues: Itare Dam, Kimawer Multipurpose Dam, Arror.

The lobby also calling on National Assembly to demand for justification on why some projects have been left out of the Budget Estimates 2021/22.

Masese Kemunche from the Rift Valley Region Budget Hub called on members of the press to also aid in ensuring citizen sensitization on the need to participate in national budgeting process.

“As journalists,help us also in passing out this message.Citizens should also take part in national projects” said Kemunche.

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Atheists fault petition seeking to deregister society

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

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President of the Atheists in Kenya Society, Harrison Mumia

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

Former Juja MP, Dr Stephen Ndichu has moved to court seeking to have the Atheists in Kenya Society suspended on grounds that its continued existence is unconstitutional.

In a statement, the society’s president, Harrison Mumia says the petition is an assault on religious freedom and an insult to the diversity of the Kenyan people.

“We find the petition repugnant to a good conscience,” he stated adding that Dr Ndichu is a Christian fundamentalist who seems to harbour paranoid fantasies about the dangers of atheists existing in Kenya.

He further accused Dr Ndichu of seeing enemies where there is none and that the society was surprised, but not shocked as religion has historically inhibited progress.

He vowed that the society would do everything within its power to defend its right to remain a registered society and urged Kenyans to support fighting the petition.

On Sunday, the society said it will be writing to President William Ruto seeking an invitation to State House, just like the evangelical denominations.

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Uhuru Gardens ready for Madaraka Day fete, says PS Kibicho

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Madaraka Day

This year’s national Madaraka Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi County will be open to 30,000 people, up from 10,000 in 2021.

Permanent Secretary in the State Department for Interior, Dr Karanja Kibicho, said this follows the relaxation of COVID-19 containment measures.

“Children will also be allowed in on the celebrations this year, and we expect county celebrations to happen too,” the PS said while on an inspection tour of the venue.

The PS said the government decided to move the celebrations from the County rotational back to Nairobi because it will be the last event for the current administration before it exits office.

“Because of the significance of this particular Madaraka day, being the last for this regime, we decided to celebrate it at Uhuru Gardens to break the tradition of celebrating it in counties,”

He revealed that preparations were currently at 90 percent complete and expressed confidence that all will be set for the event as the country marks 59 years of self rule.

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Queen Elizabeth mourns Kibaki as a great Statesman with commendable legacy

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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Queen Elizabeth II has mourned former President the late Mwai Kibaki eulogizing him as “a great statesman”.

“I was sorry to receive the news of the death of Mwai Kibaki. He had a lifelong record of service to the Kenyan people. It will be of deep sadness to your country to have lost a great statesman, but Kenya can take pride in the legacy of his leadership. I send you and the people of Kenya my condolences at this loss,” the message read.

The British High Commission further affirmed its close ties to Kenya and renewed its assurances to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The British High Commission avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya the assurances of its highest consideration,” the High Commission said.

The late Kibaki passed away on 21 April 2022, aged 90.

President Uhuru, who issued a proclamation that he would be granted a state funeral with full civilian and military honours, announced his death.

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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