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Use Citizens’ Sovereign Power To Influence Accountability And Outcomes- J BEE.

Hospital Ward MCA in Thika Constituency Mwangi Wamwangi (J BEE) has challenged residents to exploit the Citizens’ Sovereign Power as provided for by our constitution to influence desired outcomes and promote accountability in governance.

Speaking to Mukiriti Traders on Monday afternoon, J BEE said that the role of public participation in matters of governance were aimed at promoting accountability and enhancing local service delivery.

“Kenya’s emphasis on public participation resonates with global experience, which shows that building bottom-up participatory mechanisms is a key ingredient to effective decentralisation. Real citizen participation is about the ability to influence outcomes and it’s both beneficial to the county governments and to you (citizens). It’s the root of success. When the members of public fully engage in such activities, they influence the county government, for example, to publishing citizen-friendly budgets, holding structured planning and budgeting forums,” said J BEE.

He advocated for greater public mobilisation to ensure that as many people as possible attended such forums. This could be achieved through using avenues such as social media to share information, sensitise and to create awareness and the need for participation. He conceded to the fact that there was a big gap between the provisions in the legal framework and actual practice on the ground due public apathy, a reason he said caused the authorities to implement ‘unfriendly’ policies and budgets.

“Counties are mandated to facilitate public participation but they face challenges such as low attendance by the public, political inclinations and lack of interest which in turn ends up having the session end without any tangible public input. The result of this is that laws and budgets that are unfavourable to the public are adopted by the executive,” he said.

In the end, he added, the public felt harassed and cheated by their leaders whenever the county law enforcement officers hit the ground to implement these resolutions.

He added that public participation was a political principle and a right that sought to facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.

“The principle of public participation may be regarded as a way of empowerment and as vital part of democratic governance. Public participation is a tool intended to inform planning, organise or fund certain activities. Public participation is also used to measure attainable objectives, evaluate impact and identify lessons for future practice. It is the potential solution to the crisis in public trust and governance.”

On the challenges affecting the traders in Mukitiri, J BEE assured them that as small traders, he would fight to ensure that they paid their licences under Code 195 which amounted to sh. 4,400.

“No one should allow themselves to be forced to pay licences under Code 115. That belongs to retail traders within the CBD. Majority of you here are just stall owners thus fall under Code 195. Those paying on a daily basis should continue paying their sh. 20 until they are reviewed in the next Financial Bill,” said the MCA.

He added that when finances will be made available, he expected that the county government would continue improving on the drainage systems within the market as well as adding one or two more sheds to accommodate more people.

There were also plans to put up mega-billboards to advertise Mukiriti Market to people visiting the town for the first time. However, he encouraged the traders to use available free social forums such as Facebook to advertise and sensitise potential clients on the kind of trade they were engaging in.

He promised to look into the issue of the ‘illegal market’ that has of late been operating along Kenyatta Highway especially along the walls of Government Quarters to ensure an amicable solution to the matter was arrived at.

Present at the gathering were officials of Mukiriti Market led by their chairperson Zack Mwangi who appealed to the MCA to advocate for funding to ensure that all the entrances to the market were gated and secured.

He thanked the MCA for his recent efforts to advocate for floodlights within the market, saying that the lights had played a great role in improving security.

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