Elgeyo Marakwet County and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) will be holding a quarterly roundtable to access projects as part of County’s commitment to open governance.
The roundtable will act as a forum where County Government officials and CSOs discuss the progress of projects and programmes implementation, challenges and solutions.
Speaking during the occasion, Governor Alex Tolgos said his administration will continue embracing their participation in enhancing transparency and accountability. “Such an occasion will provide an opportunity for us to get feedback from the public who interact with you (CSOs). Let us get to know what the public think and how they want things done. It also informs us on the good things we have done well,” he said.
He said the consequences of the Civil society activities were helpful in putting on toes both contractors and project management committes PMCs in the county which according to him, will ensure that projects are completed in time.
The roundtable meeting was attended by 20 CSO leaders under their umbrella body CSOs Network, CECs, Chief Officers and Directors.
The meeting discussed findings of social audits conducted by the CSOs for several projects in Roads, Trade & Tourism, Agriculture & Livestock as well as Water & Environment departments.
The meeting which was streamed online through the County Facebook page was viewed by 6.8.million followers had heads of departments engaged by the local residents who inquired about status of projects in their respective Wards.
A resident from Kamariny Ward asked Roads and Public Works CEC member Kelvin Biwott why a bridge that had been earmarked for construction and funds allocated had not been done since 2016. “I am aware of the bridge.I would like to apologies for the delay but let me assure you that works will begin as soon as possible.I will have something to report here when we meet in the next quarter,” said the Mr Biwott.
The CSOs thanked the Governor for appointing two of its members to sit in the County Budget and Economic Forum (CBEF) as part of his efforts to entrench accountability in the County’s Public Finance Management.
Ken Kimaiyo, one of the lead coordinators said the CSOs conduct independent social audit of public projects as well as carrying out civic education to empower citizens with knowledge about their constitutional and democratic rights.
He said: “We are happy Elgeyo Marakwet County has taken it positively. Some of the issues raised by the public through us have been addressed by the County Executive. I am happy we now have a platform where we can deliberate this. This is the best way governments can be more transparent and accountable to citizens.”
Collins Korir from Youth Bunge, Elgeyo Markwet chapter said the roundtable will provide an opportunity for the citizens to ask questions on progress of projects. “I welcome the quarterly roundtable meetings because local residents will also have feedback from the executive on the progress of the projects,” he said.
Sheilla Suter who was one of the coordinators said she was encouraged by the level of transparency and accountability by Elgeyo Marakwet County. Sheila was happy of how local residents were following up on there projects which according to him, is a sign of accountability.
“It is encouraging to see how citizens here are free to ask their leaders questions. I want to thank the leadership of Elgeyo Marakwet for the response. This shows sense of accountabilty,” she said.