Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang'i (right) with IG of Police Mr Joseph Boinnet (centre)

A new chapter is in the offing as regards Kenya’s civil society and Kenya Government relations. The inaugural #CivilSocietyRoundTable forum will be held tomorrow, Thursday, March 29, 2018 from 7.30 am to 11.30 am at the College of Insurance, South C, Nairobi.

Premised on the theme: “Win-win for Government, Media and Civil Society”, the first of a kind forum will feature Interior and National Coordination Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i.

Others will be the Inspector General of Police, Mr Joseph Boinnet and acting CEO of the NGO’s Coordination Board.

The civil society will be represented by Cofek Secretary General Mr Stephen Mutoro and the CRECO Executive Secretary Ms Regina Opondo.

The #CivilSocietyRoundTable is a great opportunity Government officials to meet with some outstanding, courageous men and women who represent civil society organizations in Kenya.

By meeting with civil society leaders, in a structured manner, Government representatives will hear from them directly about the kind of issues and challenges that they are facing.

Kenya Government, as a matter of policy must be seen to strongly value and believe in the promotion of civil society. With a strong and accessible civil society, the Government will be more accountable and further benefit from the ideas and views of a diverse set of citizens. Strong societies ultimately have strong civil societies.  

Civil society organizations are primarily about raising concern and demanding for mitigation measures on any constrictions on civil liberties and civil rights, and also in expanding the boundaries of civil society so that people Kenya and around the region are able to have their voices heard.

It is through a strong civil society that the Government can continue to emphasize the exercise of basic universal values like freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly -- that these are all things that will make Kenya stronger.  And given the considerable development and progress that Kenya has made, this is certainly a case in point. 

The #CivilSocietyRoundTable will be taking a theme – for instance on security – and encourage high level government and civil society interaction. This would be, in part, fulfillment of the requirement at Article 10 of the Constitution on public participation.

The forums will be held on bi-monthly or in some cases quarterly basis depending on the consultations #CivilSocietyRoundTable Secretariat shall have with respective Cabinet Secretaries.

We appreciate the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) and the College of Insurance for accepting to host this historic occasion. We applaud Acting CEO Mr Godfrey Kiptum for elieving in the spirit behind the #CivilSocietyRoundTable.

The outputs of the forum will include developing a structured engagement with the Presidency through the Ministry of Interior and National Government Coordination.

Its Cofek’s expectation that the #CivilSocietyRoundTable forums shall culminate in an annual session with the President and Deputy President of the Republic.

Civil Society must no longer be seen in the lens of the protest times. The aim of the #CivilSocietyRoundTable is to move from protest to partnership.

We are keen to see Government find an independent Civil Society as an ally especially in achieving values and principles of public service as well as stemming waste of resources.

Austerity measures will be one key role the #CivilSocietyRoundTable with Government can easily realize.

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