President Uhuru Kenyatta should respect the role of the Civil Society
By Joseph Lister Nyaringo | December 19th 2016
President Uhuru Kenyatta has confirmed to the country that he doesn’t care about an informed citizenry. This is after he castigated international donors who support the Civil Society to conduct civic education in Kenya during the Jamhuri Day celebration.
It now clear that the President had ulterior motives for transferring the coordination of (NGO) to the Ministry of Interior headed by CS Joseph Nkaisery, from the Ministry of Devolution. This transfer may open a battleground between nonprofits and the law enforcement.
It can also be remembered that Uhuru was behind the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill of 2013 to cap the amount of funding to nonprofits from foreign sources.
The President needs to be enlightened about the actual role of the Civil Society also known as the third sector in our country instead of looking at it as a political movement out to prevent him from securing a second term in 2017.
He should understand that a strong Civil Society will ensure a strong government, effectiveness in fulfilling civic responsibilities by citizens, improvement in business skills especially for Kenyans in the informal sector through trainings.
The President and other members of the ruling elite who besmirch the Civil Society should also remember that it plays a critical role in peace building, enhancing human rights, promotion of peace and security, health, empowering vulnerable groups, building ethnic cohesion and religious tolerance in our nation.
The Civil Society has brought many leaders to the limelight. In parliament, we have honourable Kabando Wa Kabando of Mukurweini, Cecil Mbarire of Runyenjes and Priscilla Nyokabi of Nyeri County. Is Uhuru not enjoying the support of these vibrant leaders in the Jubilee government?
As a reminder to Kenyans, Faulu Microfinance Bank, which has now evolved into a full-fledged bank is in existence through support from Food for the Hungry International (FHI); an international relief and development organization whose headquarters is in Arizona, United States. Is the bank not employing hundreds of Kenyans besides empowering many in rural areas through micro-credit financial services?
President Uhuru is a direct beneficiary of Multiparty Democracy which was re-introduced in the country in 1991 through the efforts of the Civil Society and other foreign actors who cares about Kenya’s democratic growth.
Civic education is the responsibility of the government and not foreigners. That’s why, philanthropists who support the Civil Society from abroad deserve accolades and not condemnation from politicians.
Kenya is not a dictatorship like North Korea where President Kim Jong-un’s government bamboozles citizens in every aspect of their life. North Koreans have got no rights to explore modern cultural norms from the outside World.
We live in a democratic society where we need to enjoy the freedoms to build linkages with friends from all over the globe for purposes of enhancing our lives in the modern Century.
Kenyans desperately need understanding about their constitution, electoral process and basic judicial maters. They need trainings on how to run small businesses. Above all, they need to learn how to build a peaceful, cohesive and integrative nation to boost our multiculturalism.
I want to challenge President Uhuru to state how charitable he in the Kenyan Society despite coming from a moneyed family! He should stop criticising foreigners who have shown compassion to Kenyans.
Besides, it’s not a secret that the Kenyatta family owns land, the size of Nyanza region yet, they cannot donate even a grave yard to a landless person.
Secondly, apart from what the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is doing through the Beyond Zero campaign, there is nothingphilanthropic Kenyans can associate the Kenyatta family with. Remember, even the Beyond Zero campaign is sustained by well-wishers.
Kenyans vividly remember that in 2010, when Uhuru doubled as deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, he bloated the price of the 1171 acres family land in Rongai which the government purchased to resettle the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
I wonder if Uhuru knows the status of Kenya’s external debts where China tops the list. I also wonder if he knows that there is no repayments of all donations made to the Civil Society unlike the hefty loans from China which will be serviced Kenyan children not yet born.
Attacking the international community is forgetting too soon. Who doesn’t remember how it played a pivotal role to put Kenya on the right track after the 2007 post-election violence?
In fact, Uhuru became a direct beneficiary of the mediation where he was appointed deputy Prime Minister and Minster for Finance because of the efforts of Western powers like the United States.
By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
President, Kenya Patriotic Movement (KEPAM)
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