Topic: Role of Citizens in Fighting and Preventing Corruption after the General Election

The National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee (NACCSC) is established vide Kenya Gazette Notice No. 6707 dated 19th September, 2014.  It is mandated to conduct a nationwide public education, sensitization and awareness creation campaign aimed at effecting fundamental changes in the attitude, behaviour, practices and culture of Kenyans towards corruption. The campaign is focused on the members of the public, to empower them fight and prevent corruption.

The country has just concluded the General Election held on 8th August 2017, and NACCSC is of the view that the public should remain engaged in the fight against corruption. The anti-corruption radio campaign by NACCSC themed “Elections and Good Governance” currently being transmitted on seven radio stations is one such engagement. In the pre-election period, the campaign sensitized members of the public on the qualities of a leader of integrity, benefits of electing individuals that are not tainted by corruption, the corruption-prone areas and corrupt practices in the electoral process and their individual and collective role in ensuring the elections were credible and devoid of corruption.

After the elections, regardless of the type of leaders that the electorate voted in, it is imperative that the agenda of fighting corruption is sustained. Specifically, the members of the public should be encouraged to actively participate in the vetting of public officials that both the County and National Government will appoint such as Cabinet Secretaries and County Executive Committee Members, among others, as well as demand establishment of transparent and accountable governance structures and continuously monitor their leaders’ performance in relation to the commitments and promises they made during the electioneering period, including a sustained fight against corruption.

NACCSC would like the voters to know that they have a major role to play in continuing to fight and prevent corruption after electing their leaders. The following points will assist them in making good decisions as they implement this role: -

  1. What is the role of the electorate after the general election?
  • Demand from their leaders that they uphold integrity, transparency and accountability in the conduct and management of public affairs
  • Continuously remind the leaders of the pre-election pledges they made as contained in their development agenda, party/individual manifestos and verbal promises
  • Demand that the leaders abide by and deliver on the promises they had made
  • Regularly monitor and evaluate the delivery of such pledges and promises
  • Participate in the vetting of Cabinet Secretaries, County Executive Committee members, Principal Secretaries, Chief Officers etc

       2. What is public participation, and how can the public effectively accomplish this?

  • The World Bank defines participation as: ‘A process in which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives, decisions and the resources affecting them’.
  • In Kenya, Article 196 (1a & b) of the Constitution (2010) and Section 8 (f) of the County Governments Act 2012 amongst others, stipulate the importance of public participation which when handled correctly, enhances transparency and accountability.
  • When the public is deliberately involved in programmes and projects within their areas, they are able to make crucial contributions that influence the outcomes. The leaders are also forced to become more ‘transparent’ in their dealings, leading to high accountability.
  • The public should participate in the vetting of individuals proposed for appointment during the constitution of National and County Governments. They should volunteer information that will ensure only the best candidates of high moral standing and integrity are appointed to public offices
  • The public should also attend budget-making meetings, and indeed, all development meetings where their opinion is needed to identify and prioritize projects and programmes. They should interrogate the budgetary proposals to ensure they reflect the situations on the ground correctly (not exaggerations meant to benefit corrupt individuals)
  • During implementation of public projects and programmes, the beneficiaries (members of the public) should volunteer to serve as members of the Project Management Committees (PMCs) to oversee their successful implementation, devoid of corruption

       3. How does public participation help in fighting corruption?

  • Through the Constitution, Kenyans have an opportunity to enhance development and service delivery through direct participation, which entrenches transparency and accountability
  • Leaders are aware of the public scrutiny, hence conduct themselves transparently
  • The public is closely involved in the execution of the development agenda of their governments, hence can demand transparency where issues are not clear
  • Citizens do not participate in or condone theft of materials from public projects

       4. How can Citizens hold their elected leaders accountable in service delivery?

  • Attend and participate in all scheduled development meetings
  • Not to demand for payments when attending such meetings
  • Agree to elect Project Management Committees to oversee implementation of local publicly-funded projects and programmes. Where not formed, citizens should demand their formation before implementation commences  

Conclusion

Public participation aims at empowering individuals, communities, and society in general by disseminating knowledge and involving them directly in their local development agenda, resulting in greater accountability and transparency by leaders and governments. It is crucial in building institutional capacity and improving service delivery.

Only projects and programmes that are locally owned and valued, flourish. The broader the ownership the better. This is particularly true in many developing countries where, for so long, so much has been forced from the top for the benefit of a few that, trust is negligible. Hence, increased public participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of programmes works to greatly enhance accountability and transparency, thereby minimizing corruption.

Public participation is thus an effective way of preventing corruption as it enables governments work more efficiently and helps the entire society participate in building an enabling environment for equitable and sustainable growth, resulting in timely and cost effective services delivered to its public.

Every individual has a role to play in the fight against corruption. In this case, it started with voting in leaders of integrity. Now those leaders must involve the public in decisions affecting their lives, and be accountable to them in service delivery. For the fight against corruption to be won, we all must play our roles effectively.

Remember, ‘Fighting Corruption, My responsibility!’

NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN STEERING COMMITTEE