NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The government on Friday launched an integrated civic education programme in partnership with the civil society targeting all Kenyans to create continuous awareness on the constitutional implementation process.
The nationwide programme, which was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, will see the government work with 73 non-State actors under the leadership of Morris Odhiambo, the Executive Director of Centre for Law and Research International.
Mudavadi however reminded the civil societies to remain impartial and ensure that they were not caught up in the country’s political rhetoric.
“Beware of politicians like me because we can hijack your process and misdirect it. You should be focused and non partisan. Whether you support me or Mutula (Kilonzo, Justice Minister) does not matter if you are imparting civic education; leave that for another session,” he said.
Odhiambo expressed concern over funding saying the government should put in place sufficient finances to facilitate the programme and ensure that it was not crippled.
He said that the government had only allocated Sh100 million to be distributed among the 73 civil societies, which risked derailing the programme.
“The civil society works on the basis of pre-financing not post financing and we do not want to fail. There is therefore need to understand the urgency of funding the programme because there are concerns,” he said.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Acting Permanent Secretary Gichira Kibara however assured the civil societies of the government’s commitment in ensuring they were adequately funded.
He also dismissed the claims raised by Odhiambo saying the Sh100 million was only supposed to support their programmes for the next three months.
“Sh1.3 billion has already been approved by the Treasury but it will only be released in the upcoming financial year because that is how government operates. We are in this for the long haul,” he stressed.
Mudavadi also challenged the Non-Governmental organisations to uphold integrity while handling the resources allocated to them.
“You must demand for accountability and keep proper records. If you expect more support from donors and even from the government you will have to be accountable for the resources that are going to be channelled through your organisations,” he said.
Odhiambo also noted that there was need to hasten the process of setting up a secretariat to manage the programme in addition to putting up sufficient structures at the County levels.
Acting Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia said the programme would help Kenyans remain vigilant in the constitutional implementation process.
Through a speech read on his behalf by presidential advisor Kivutha Kibwana, Kimemia said the programme would also prevent conflict and enhance the country’s socio-economic growth.
“Civic ignorance is a cancer which can threaten the life of a State. On the other hand countrywide provision of civic education is a catalyst to nation building. When citizens lack civic virtue development initiatives are easily compromised,” he noted.
Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Toshihisa Takata also reiterated Kimemia’s remarks noting that the right civic education programme would help prevent a repeat of the post election violence.
Lands Permanent Secretary Dorothy Angote also noted that the programme would help facilitate land reforms.
Kilonzo noted that there was a need to institutionalise the civic education programme.
“We should also ensure that there is an office to oversee this programme in every County,” he said.