, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the country to change tact and partner with the Government for the common good of Kenyans.
The President said the NGOs need to embrace a new era of cooperation devoid of unnecessary confrontational associated with the past.
“NGOs must radically rethink the framework of engaging government and its institutions, and stop giving the unfortunate impression that Kenya has not changed. Kenya has changed,” the President said.
He said although the adversarial framework of the past was a necessary means of engaging repressive, undemocratic and intransigent governments, the Jubilee Government wishes to partner with the NGOs to work for the interests and aspirations of all Kenyans.
Speaking during the 25th Anniversary of the NGO Co-ordination Act at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre-KICC, the President regretted that some stakeholders in the NGO sector still prefer riotous spectacles and wasteful confrontation.
“There is a lot for us to do for the people of Kenya. Let us have a full, open and honest conversation on how to get it all done. My Government is fully committed in this,” he said.
The President however commended the NGOs for their splendid work saying it is the NGOs which have ensured greater democracy, broader popular participation and better governance in the country.
“Political pluralism, rights-based approaches to governance, policy design and implementation, checks and balances as well as responsiveness by Government are features of our national discourse ushered in by determined NGOs activity,” he affirmed.
“So huge is the imprint of the NGOs in our national landscape that one criticism of the Constitution has been that it is replete with NGO concepts and expressions.”
The President affirmed his commitment to the implementation of the Constitution saying it has formulated the ideal environment for tremendous prosperity for the nation.
He noted that the NGO movement is widely spread in the Kenyan society and therefore called on those in authority to take caution not to infringe the space for NGO in serving Kenyans.
President Kenyatta directed all County commissioners to work closely with the NGO council in promoting the welfare of Kenyans saying partnership with Government is ideal as it allows stakeholder to complement one another.
“My Government is committed to the spirit of our constitutional dispensation. We are dedicated to uplifting the welfare of each citizen, both materially and socio-politically. We want the people to continue the spirit of public participation in developing democratic governance frameworks,” President Kenyatta said.
Speaking at the function Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning Anne Waiguru said the fruits of democracy enjoyed by Kenyans are as a result of the NGO Co-ordination Act and therefore the importance of NGOs in Kenya cannot be over emphasized.
“The celebration of the new constitution with separation of powers between the Executive, Judiciary and the National Assembly complete with checks and balances is as a result of the NGOs,” she said.
Other speakers were the Chief Executive, NGO Council Ms. Kevin Loyatum, NACADA Director Mohamed Fazul, Chairman NGO Coordination Board Joshua Ole Leparashau and Chairman NGO Council Wilson Kipkazi.