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NGOs plan protest over law meant to limit foreign funding to 15pc

COUNTIES
By LEONARD KULEI | October 29th 2014

The National Council of Non-Governmental Organisations has said it is mobilising its members to protest proposed amendments to the law aimed at forcing them to reveal their sources of funds.

Council Chairman Wilson Kipkazi told The Standard that members have vowed to stop the Government from imposing draconian laws on the civil society. He said NGOs have their own internal and external auditing mechanisms which meet international standards, adding that NGOs have no problem with accountability but will oppose efforts by the Government to audit the private sector.

"We are very accountable and our accounts are thoroughly audited through established systems. We know this is revenge by the Government due to the ICC cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Deputy President William Ruto," he said, adding that the Government should not resort to punishing all NGOs after it fell out with some of them.

According to Kipkazi, the more than 10,000 civil society groups in the country are set to challenge the Bill that aims to amend the Public Benefits Organisation Act 2013 seeking to cap foreign funding to NGOs at 15 per cent and have them audited by the Auditor General, among other changes.

He said the money used by NGOs does not come through the ex-chequer thus making it impossible for the Government to subject them to public audit.

"We are not against transparency but we will refuse plans to muzzle us. Unless the money we use comes through the ex-chequer otherwise the Bill amounts to direct punishment by the Government," he said.

He cautioned members of the National Assembly against being part of an exercise that would cut development projects currently undertaken by NGOs in arid and semi-arid areas.

"MPs should be patriotic enough and shoot down the Bill. We have seen many parts of this country developed by NGOs," he said.

But Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkonga expressed discomfort over the Bill, saying the Government should develop better ways of regulating NGOs.

"It was discussed and abandoned last year because it was impractical to implement," said the Jubilee-allied lawmaker who is also the Ainabkoi MP.

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