ACHIEVEMENTS OF NCCSN
- Our first and most obvious achievement as a civil society network is our 3 Petitions.
Each had to be drawn in accordance with different criteria, to comply with differing regulations and Standing Orders.
These Petitions were co-signed by our current Chairman and the C.E.O. of the Nandi County Chamber of Commerce.
The first was dated 9-2-15 and directed to the County Executive, in accordance with section 88 of the County Governments Act 2012.
At the time, we had not realised the full extent of the lack of capacity and banditry among the leaders there. Section 89 requires an expeditious response to such Petitions.
The Executive totally ignored ours. It was proof of our suspicions that their deliberate policy was to stonewall all requests for information or access, and indeed our Petition was in part based upon their refusal to even acknowledge receipt of our many letters and visits in person requesting information.
The second Petition, dated 8-6-15, was directed to the County Assembly, was an expanded document, and although we knew that many MCAs were compromised, again we had not fully grasped their limits - many cannot or will not read documents, being challenged both in their English and in grasping arithmetic. Furthermore, we now know that many reject their proper role of supervision and oversight – instead, they saw themselves as part of the Executive.
We now know that nearly all- perhaps all - MCAs are compromised.
Rapidly realising that this Petition too was receiving no attention, we drafted a third version, this time to the Senate. It was dated 6-8-15.
This Petition had one flaw, as some of the facts and figures on which we relied were in fact incorrect. We mistakenly based some of our analysis upon an obsolete Budget document.
The timeline in all this is instructive.
In early 2015 the Executive had paraded around a document in their so-called public participation forums which was not a Budget, but in fact a line-item Medium Term Fiscal Strategy paper.
On June 26th2015 we received a programmatic Budget under cover of a letter from the Executive to the Assembly. We commented as best we could, and then wrongly believed that this was the Budget that was passed on June 30th 2015, and codified by the Appropriation Act on 3rd July.
Unbeknown to us, the County Assembly had passed a different Budget- which we have since dubbed Budget(v3). We did not obtain a copy of this until October 2015, after we had finalised and delivered our Petition to the Senate committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.
Only the Senate has ever responded. Its committee summoned the Governor and MCAs to Nairobi, where the former was elusive and the latter defiant; initially.
We supplied a bundle of documents, properly scheduled, in total 64 with over 400 pages, both in soft and hard copies.
The Committee’s investigation continues…
Rumours abound that attempts have been made to bribe this Committee. Time will tell.
Our second achievementwas another Petition, also to the Senate, this time for a marginalised people-group, the Talai, most of whom are resident in Kapsisywa, Nandi County.
Building on our knowledge of the correct format for Petition to the Senate, this one brought together the frequently fractious clans/families of the Talai, descendants and affiliates of the national hero KoitaleelaraapSamoei, and seeks redress for historic injustices perpetrated both by the British colonialists and since Independence.
This Petition has been accepted and is now also working its way through the Senatorial processes.
- Our third achievement, for which we can claim partial responsibility, is the demand from the Office of Controller of Budgets that Nandi County produce an Annual Development Plan,and County’s reluctant compliance.
The law here is clearly set out in the Public Finance Management Act 2012, but County Government had wholly ignored the law- as usual - after Devolution.
We do not understand why OCoB did not demand ADPs for 2013-2014 nor 2014-2015.
In fact, an ADP is required by not later than 1st September of each year for the Budget for the next calendar year.
In other words, the ADP for fiscal year 2015-2016 was due on 31-8-2014.
We had made visits to OCoB’s local and Nairobi offices, and believe it was our interest and highlighting issues that prompted OCoBto refuse to approve the Budget (v3) until an ADP had been prepared.
The ADP is significant, because it is the first document written by County Government that is capable of being monitored, as it lists projects and gives both estimated costs and timescales thereof.
In consequence civil society has been able to highlight numerous anomalies, duplications and wastage in the County’s supposed Development plans.
In fact the ADP utilised cut and paste and its totals massively exceed the figures allocated in Budget (v3). It is in fact a nonsense document, but very useful as an aspirational list and to monitor expenditure.
It is noteworthy that the ADP for the next fiscal year 2016-2017 should have been prepared by 1st September 2015.
It has still not been drafted.
By sharing this with activists on the ground, we have been able to confirm that no development has been carried out this fiscal year.
Also that one development that has been done, namely a controversial and extravagant construction at Mlango Gate, was not in the ADP –nor was it in the CIDP- and thus cannot avoid its description as a wasteful and useless Governor’s folly.
This relatively small wastage- small in comparison with much other wastage, has aroused residents ire, as it is highly visible and obvious. County Government’s numerous acts of omission and neglect have largely escaped scrutiny.
- Our fourth achievement has been the establishment of an office in Namgoi, Kapsabet Town.
For years we have operated as a mobile secretariat, which has given space to enemies to belittle us. Now, we have a visible presence and focal point for all civil society activists. Unlike some of our member organisations, we welcome and include anyone who wishes to benefit for the use of this office for civil society purposes. And it is free to them.
We must encourage and sustain volunteerism if civil society is to prosper. It as in that spirit the one of our member organisations – CCDD - celebrated its work in the Borderlands of Nandi/Kisumu counties last year by holding a ceremony and handing out Certificates of Appreciation to peace activists and members of the Administration.
Funding for this office will have to be found in due course, but meanwhile, we hope our premises will act as a beacon and rallying point for opposition to graft, and to build peace, accountability and transparency.
- Our fifth achievement was to block an attempt by County to borrow 696million to buy road construction machines.
Our objection was based upon a number of blatant inaccuracies written in the County Asset Loan Proposal document, e.g., that County owed no debt- whereas it owed hundreds of millions to local Hospitality suppliers and Construction industry – a fear that the loan would encumber the next administration as the revenue collection by this administration is lamentably low and inefficient, and an interest rate of 17%.
Furthermore, the proposed loan breached a clear Advisory circulated by the CRA in May 2015.
We went to Court and County, who sought adjournments but never filed a proper defence, eventually agreed it would not proceed.
Since thenit has acquired some machines at an alleged cost of 200m, which was the amountoriginally destined as a deposit for the Loan.
- Our sixth achievement is the inception and launch of the Nandi County’s Women League on 1-2-2015.
The sad truth is that the largest Women’s empowerment agency, MaendeleoyaWanawake, has been infiltrated and its leaders corrupted. Funds have been diverted, and it has failed to deliver on its vision and mandate.
NC Women’s League may of course also fall prey to political intrigue and masculinist desires to maintain the status quo, but hopes are high, and the initiative has been greeted with widespread enthusiasm among the Nandi women NCCSN has contacted.
WL has now set up its initial structures, and men are not included. It is a separate organ and we trust will remain so, untainted by past associations and divide and rule tactics.
- The Nandi County Produce Cess Bill 2014
A combination of NCCSN activists, the local Chamber of Commerce and members of the big Tea Estates fought this one into the ground, and off County Government’s legislative programme.
Outside help was sought and obtained from BAF, the Business Advocacy Fund, and we are very grateful to them for their able input.
While some might see the parties involved as an unholy alliance, parts of the Bill imposed tariffs on agri-products passing through as well as leaving the county, which was nonsensical for a major agri-producer and would also penalise Mama Mboga.
Moreover, the intended use of kiosks to collect this tax was an obvious attempt to increase revenue flows.
Existing kiosks collect money from matatus and bod boda riders, and these money flows do not get banked but are regularly diverted into individuals’ pockets. NCCSN thus foresaw and acted against this Bill as being a device that would merely increase graft.
County Government then attempted to impose parts of this tax by disguising it as Schedule 2 within the 2015 Finance Bill.
NCCSN noticed this and alerted the populace. In consequence, many folk at Nandi Hills - already stirred by our disclosures as to numerous empty promises, and the massive expenditure on the Nandi Hills stadium- with nothing to show for it- raised a public outcry and forced County officials to agree to suspend the Bill.
Unfortunately, it is possible that the Assembly has since passed the Bill- or will do so this session, as it imposes news blackouts on its activities, and monitoring its Motions and debates is very difficult.
The Nandi County Alcoholic and Drinks Control Act 2015.
This is a nonsense piece of purported legislationperpetrated by the County Government, both Executive and Assembly, and inflicted upon Nandi residents.
A combination of work by NCCSN and the local Chamber of Commerce has mobilised the business community into a realisation of this woeful document, which among other stupidities records that “it was enacted by Kericho County Assembly”!
Arrests and demands for licence fees were made in Mosoriot, even though the necessary Licensing organs, being a Directorate, sub-County licensing committees and Review Board have not been created.
The licence fees structure is opaque, and the limitation of four retail outlets per each sub-County is ludicrous.
The County, under threat of legal action, has suspended its attempt to operationalize this document.
But it appears that Stakeholders will still have to go to Court, since oral assurances given by County officials are as mobile as the wind.
- Our ninth achievement was to come alongside and support local Contractors who were owed money by County for road construction.
Differentiating between those who had done good work and those who had not was not easy. But our pressure assisted them in pushing County into compiling a Road Inspection Report dated 11-12-15. This is an incriminating document as it admits that some 88 contracts out of 204 inspected, did not have proper documentation. Some had none at all, thus showing that Procurement Procedures were flouted.
- Our tenth achievementhas been to bring and increase awarenessamong the general populace at to their Government’s misdeeds.
This is an Information War, and we are winning it among the IT literate.
We have published facts and figures, and use these to combat the Count Government propaganda machine.
We suspect it is because of our efficiency that the Governor chose to launch his 200m road construction machines on 10-2-16 at a remote and lightly populated part of the County, Selia, instead of launching them at Kapsabet.
Our continuing efforts to inform and empower the populace continues. Ourguess is that we have reached 55% of the residents. We have no hard and fast figures, but it is clear that there is a growing groundswell of opinion against this administration as people realise it has done nothing for them.
Recent scandals include the Governor launching a “ghost” water project and the exposure of the dire state of the County’s health facilities.
We have challenged this Administration in the following areas, and publicised these by writing Open letters to the Governor an dafter delivery of hard copies, posted them on our Fb page.
- We have offered our help in improving revenue collection
- We have demanded access to the KipchogeKeino Stadium in Kapsabet, which reports say has swallowed 1.2billion to date.The entrance is closed and a high perimeter wallprevents any visual inspection of progress.
- We have challenged the Governor to comply with the law and give a State of the County Address to the Assembly- he has not done this since May 2014
- We have challenged the Governor and his officials to submit to our vetting tool
- We have challenged him to operationalize the County Economic Budget Forum
- Our tenth achievementis to firmly fix National Agencies’ attention upon Nandi County.
We have contacted and are in continuing contact with the following: -
- Inter-Governmental Commission
- Office of the Deputy–President
- County Commissioner
Three of these have launched their own investigations.
We have also written to the Women Rep and all 6MPs about graft.