The Programme sought to organize the communities at the grassroot level to watch and monitor implementation of policy briefs and legislative agendas so that the communities themselves can keep their government to account. The centre is guided by the unyielding belief that a society having access to proper interpretation of national issues and debates in parliament, and also having a chance to react and give their views will have less tension and is divorced of political manipulation which for a long time has blinded the masses through false promises. This enables the masses to forge their destiny more so the young people have a wonderful opportunity to push for their agenda through writing of memoranda to their legislators. The centre is also keen on record keeping, this is demonstrated by the continued filling of reports and also the video clips and photographs are taken whenever there is an event. This enables those who are absent to catch up with all the activities hence harmony in all undertakings. The daily issuance of newspapers cannot go unnoticed as it has enabled the people to further appreciate the dynamics of governance and other relevant information. The impact is unmatched and the centre for sure believes that the initiative is an idea whose time is ripe.
The C.C.D.D established the Programme in the four constituencies of the greater Nandi that include Mosop, Emgwen, Aldai and Tindiret having in mind the following core objectives
Establish information centers where the community will gather and follow parliamentary proceedings as well as get sensitized
Train facilitators to coordinate activities within the information centre and act as situation monitors on weekly basis
Diffuse tension amongst community members in the four constituencies of the C.C.D.D jurisdiction by interpreting the parliamentary proceedings and helping the participants to act objectively.
Indicators of success
From community dialogue to grassroots empowerment, one of the greatest indicators of success seen in C.C.D.D’s initial activities is demonstrated by the local groups identifying and developing their own plans for community empowerment with the centers’ assistance. This is not to mention the enormous turnout at the centers’ during parliamentary proceedings and the enthusiasm that is generated by the emerging debates. The continued reading of newspapers and their safe custody thereof is an unparalleled gesture of seriousness the Programme is receiving. The centre is therefore convinced that the Programme has been a success and ought to be upheld.
C.C.D.D considers the Programme a success having established grassroot committees sourced from different villages surrounding every centre. These have been pivotal in linking up and coordinating the Programme activities and the centre considers this a breakthrough as we now have a completely different and organized society. Thanks to the Programme by USAID/DAI support.
Youth open day on parliamentary proceedings.
The event organized by C.C.D.D in all the centres gained popular acceptance from the young people. This was witnessed by the turnout in Koitabut in which a historical crowd of 380 young people turned up for the event. In Kaptumo history was also written when 102 youths turned up and also in general in other centres an average of 70 youths turned up. The centre considered the event a success because it witnessed for the first time the youth taking charge of their issues and freely discussing their plight against the background of parliamentary proceedings.
The implementation of the entire Programme has had with it a fair share of challenges which the centre considers they can somehow be dealt with. Chief among these challenges include the tension created by politicians who feel threatened by an informed society. They have tried to plant seeds of discord but the centre has remained focused in its objects and principles.
The centre has also experienced politicians trying to support the Programme and hence hijack the initiative so as to manipulate for their selfish gains. This saw a spirited effort from C.C.D.D in stopping such in the entire centre the threat however, is still real and the politicians are awaiting the slightest opportunity to do so especially before 2012 elections.
The centre has also been greatly challenged by logistical challenges specifically on mobility. Touring the various centres in the region has been a nightmare this is for the simple reason of the poor state of the road network and expensive means of transport. This is coupled by the fastness of the region which translates to straining and at times hindering performance.
Individual centre challenges
a) Labuiywo- The area is cosmopolitan and the centre experienced the push by the various tribes to have one of their own as the committee member. There were also gender problems but finally through the intervention of C.C.D.D there was consensus and a lady was nominated to monitor the centre. The centre is low in altitude and the reception of TV waves was problematic forcing C.C.D.D to buy booster.
b) Tea planters (Nandi Hills)- The greatest challenge was the cost of the hall since the centre had no community hall. But with the support of the administration, the rates were lowered to accommodate our budget.
c) Mogoon- The centre is blessed with a community hall but unfortunately it has no supply of electricity. The centre had to use a generator to provide power. The centre was also too political as it is considered the backyard of a prominent politician. This created suspicion which C.C.D.D has to intervene to forge a middle ground.
d) Segut- The area has no community hall and one of the classrooms had to be used for the same. This has been an inconvenience to learners and may degenerate to misunderstanding between the community and the school. The centre had also denominational difference competing to own the Programme
e) koitabut- The area has a small community hall without the supply of electricity. This has forced the centre to use generators hence additional costs.
f) Kaptumo-The area is blessed with a community hall with electricity but there was a lot of suspicion between the young generation and the elders. This saw a diversion of priorities but C.C.D.D managed to cool the tensions.
g) Lolkeringet-The area has no community hall and has been using a church building forcing C.C.D.D to settle bills in order to be accepted.
h) Kokwet- The area has no community hall and has been using a local church. This has also posed a threat as the same seems to degenerate to a misunderstanding between the church and the community. The church also had no extension cables and C.C.D.D was forced to buy extension cables.
Throughout the undertakings C.C.D.D programmes seemed to gain popularity and more centres emerged. This saw C.C.D.D splitting the other centres so enable the emergent centres to benefit from the Programme. This has not been an easy task and has forced the centre to undertake lots of logistical measures to remedy the situation.
A Common challenge
In all the Programme activities, C.C.D.D can confirm that the biggest underlying challenge is the tension between the young generation and the old generation. Most of the old folks have not relinquished their positions in the community leadership hence suffocating the young, energetic generation. In some cases however, the young generation are unavailable or/and unwilling to take up leadership leaving behind a vacuum. This has forced the centre to take a middle ground in diffusing the eminent tension.
A narrative summary
Its activities through donation of Television sets in the eight centres identified which include: Kokwet, Mogoon, Lolgeringet, Labuiywo, Tea planters (Nandi hills), Kaptumo, Koitabut and Segut have gained an overwhelming support from the local communities. Focusing primarily on community dialogue activities in its centers, C.C.D.D is convinced the first phases had undoubtedly proven successful and met the centers expectations in developing what we consider as “community driven dialogue initiatives and education”
The breakthrough has however been clouded with tension and suspicion generated from the political elite. The centre reiterates the fact that the progress achieved at the grassroot level is vulnerable to discord sown by politicians thus the need for a continuation of the same. The centre is also contemplating on the need to replicate the Programme on a broad scale and to receive a degree of support from USAID/DAI.
C.C.D.D is also monitoring very closely the political dynamics in Kenya and is of the position that the Programme ought to be maintained for the simple reason that the grand coalition government is made up of a rather fragile coalition of disparate parties which have not as yet been able to fully agree on a comprehensive national agenda. Parliament, where all these parties are represented is one arena where these differences are being played out in public thanks to the live broadcast of parliamentary proceedings. The centre is of the position that if these elites can’t agree on most contentious issues including constitutional dispensation, there will be a continuing delay in passing critical pieces of legislation and in the implementation of the legal and judicial reforms that are essential to the long-term stability and growth of Kenya. This has great implications on the life of the citizens thus the need of having wananchi participation in checking the government.
In the coming quarter, C.C.D.D. will focus on accommodating a number of major emerging issues into its Programme objectives and evaluating the ramifications of a swiftly changing political context and the other societal dynamics. Chief among these issues include:
The eviction of families from the Mau forest could provoke major demonstrations. The Programme will need to determine what role, if any, it will take in lessening tension that may be created.
IDP resettlement which others see it as being done in a skewed manner. The subject has generated controversy and the centre will forge for a middle ground on the same.
Youth empowerment and more so their active role in taking up responsibility in governance participation.
Parliament is on recess which leaves little time to deal with a number of extremely important issues most notably the need or a new constitution. The centre will keep informing the community on the progress and enlightment on the same.
Other empowerment avenues intended to alleviate poverty especially to the vulnerable groups like the youth and women.
The police reforms and how they impact on wananchi
- The executive and Legislative relations as witnessed by the unilateral re-appointment of K.A.C.C boss and his two deputies and the subsequent annulment by parliament. C.C.D.D will endeavor to secure a common ground and seek to guide the citizens on their role in such a situation.
The centre to this end wishes to thank all the participants who have since associated with. It is our prayer that we shall work together in harmony towards building a nation in which you and I will always be proud to associate with. Thank you.