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Kisumu Assembly explores collaboration for enhanced public participation

Kisumu County Assembly is collaborating with the Kisumu County Development Trust (KCDT) in a move aimed at boosting public participation and improving service delivery for the locals.

On Tuesday, members of the committee on Budget and Appropriation held a consultative meeting with KCDT officials in a bid to sensitize the legislators on their roles and identify potential areas of partnership with the Assembly.

Addressing the press during the forum, the Vice Chair of the Budget Committee, Seth Okumu, said the collaboration seeks to improve civic engagement in government planning processes and enhance citizen participation on various developmental projects.

“We intend to carry out joint public participation forums with our partners by exploring radio talk shows and visiting people in the villages to educate them on the roles of MCAs, County budget processes, and general activities of the county assembly,” said Okumu.

The initiative, he said, would further enhance the availability of vital fiscal information in the public domain in an open, usable, and easy-to-understand manner so that people could engage with the budget documents themselves.

“A large number of the population does not have access to budget documents for better decision-making during public participation forums. These documents include the fiscal strategy paper, budget estimates, integrated development plan, annual integrated development plan, etc,” the East Seme ward MCA noted.

Despite the citizen participation organized by the county government, he observed, the residents continue to feel disenfranchised from the implementation of projects that at times do not reflect their (public) views.

“Locals propose development programmes during public participation, which sometimes are never implemented due to scarcity of resources. This makes the community members feel that their voices have been ignored and do not matter in the development process without them knowing it was not done deliberately,” Okumu explained, adding that there is a need for heightened civic education to let people know and be reasonable when proposing projects.

Kisumu Assembly Chief Whip Seth Kanga, aka Adui Nyang’ hailed the partnership, saying it would offer better ways to conduct effective public participation in the lakeside County.

“We are seeking to collaborate towards strengthening public participation up to the village level. It is prudent to ensure that whatever development projects are being implemented by the County government emanate from the people,” stated the Milimani Ward MCA.

The chairperson of the Board of Trustees of KCDT, Peter Oduk, said the organization seeks to establish a structured partnership with Kisumu County Assembly on areas including civic education, and community mobilization for public engagements to achieve regional development.

“Our collaboration would strengthen the Member of County Assembly’s role in reaching out to the community, delivering policy and legislation by fostering community engagement, capacity building and training, and budgetary support,” assured Mr. Oduk.

By Robert Ojwang’

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