getting to the field…

Almost two weeks into the NGO world and I must say that I am liking this work. Last week we had a capacity building workshop on advocacy skills training. It was largely successful and I got to meet members of interesting Kenyan civil society organisations (CSOs) from across the nation. My take on the workshop was that Kenyan civil society exists, what’s lacking is clout. They need to have some say in what decisions are made in parliament or state house. This they can only achieve by increasing their membership and general public awareness and by raising cash.

And in order to make these same CSOs more democratic and representative, donors can come up with a system of conditioning their aid on the CSOs raising part of their monies from Kenyans. In this way, the wider a CSO’s Kenyan donor base, the more money they should get. There should of course be exemptions for emergency relief, education, public health programs, among other critical areas. The assumption here is that most CSOs are involved with the political aspects of development.

Tomorrow I head out into the field  for a monitoring and evaluation exercise in Eldoret and Burnt Forest – areas that were affected by the violence that rocked Kenya early last year. I will write a post on the developments concerning peace initiatives there.

kenyan cabinet remains deadlocked over violence

For the second straight week the Kenyan cabinet remains deadlocked on the way forward in the effort to bring to book those who planned the post-election violence that killed over 1300 people early last year. Several cabinet ministers are opposed to the creation of a local tribunal – which is the official position of the government – and want the suspects be investigated and tried by the ICC’s chief prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo at the Hague. Their position, they argue, is informed by the sorry state of Kenya’s judiciary which for all practical purposes is usually in the pocket of whoever occupies state house.

It is widely believed that a number of cabinet ministers were significantly involved in the planning of violence after the disputed election. Indeed the government funded Kenya Human Rights Commission last week released a list of suspects that was populated by cabinet ministers and members of parliament. Ministers and MPs from both sides of the political divide criticised the move and vowed to take the human rights body to court for defamation.

My two cents on this is that those that plotted the violence at the very top should go to the Hague. The middle level and small fry should be tried by a special court within Kenyan law. And as this goes on we should have a truth and reconciliation process. That way, the people at the top will know that Kenyan lives are not the expendable commodities they imagine them to be and thugs who killed innocent women and children will be punished. And above all, the truth and reconciliation process will start the process of healing among Kenyans.