Thank you Grace for asking those questions.
I will speak on behalf of Mzalendo Trust – Dokeza project, though I am not
the official voice for the project.
Mzalendo Trust’s particular area of concern is what the Parliamentarians
(National Assembly and Senate) do on our behalf regarding the three areas
as stipulated in our constitution; representation, legislation and
Mzalendo Trust had been covering the representation aspect quite well, but
the other two “jobs” needed to be covered to complete their interest in
what Parliamentarians do for us.
The Dokeza platform (dokeza.mzalendo.com/) was envisaged to go
beyond what Jadili (jadili.ictpolicy.org/) was doing, especially in
the area of public participation feedback going back to Parliament in a way
that is formal and transparent. In this vein, I will try and answer the
questions Grace posed.
1. We (Mzalendo Dokeza team) had a series of meetings with the Clerk to the
National Assembly, the Clerk to the Senate and Kenya Law Review in
particular to understand what would be the Draft Bill Process. How is a
legislative Bill drafted? Who can draft a legislative Bill? After the First
Reading, who is it presented to the Public for participation? How can we
record the participation?
The important part was to track the changes on a Legislative Bill as it
went through a particular Parliamentary house and committees. Parliament
conceded that this should really be done by them and made available to the
public. However, we got to understand, from the Kenya Law Review, that
currently the only official versions of any Bill are those that come from
the Government Printer. The Bills on the Kenya Law Review website are
PURCHASED from the Government Printer. So Dokeza hopes to work with
Parliament to receive Bill versions and post them on the Dokeza Platform as
the bills go through the different stages. However, the official Act of
Parliament will be on the Kenya Law Review website.
This is a work in progress requiring new policies, e.g. standing orders to
allow public access, or a policy implementation under the Access to
Information Act, 2016.
2. Committee reports are simply not accessible since there has been no law
or . Dokeza is envisaged to collect public contributions to the legislative
bills through annotations as well as constructive comments from experts of
law and the public. These are submitted, after the public participation
period is over, to the committee stage as a formal memorandum to accompany
the bill. Where the public contributions make it into the final bill, the
incorporated changes will be highlighted on the final Act of Parliament on
the Dokeza platform for archival purposes in the documentation of public
participation in the legislative bill development process in Kenya.
Hopefully the Dokeza Platform can do this at a later date once the policies
are in place.
3. The issue of the Parliament’s communication with the public has to be
revisited to go beyond the passive airing of proceedings in both houses. In
my opinion, KBC should have a channel, on radio at least of programming
MADE from the work done in Parliament. Schedules for public fora, special
interests and all manner of stake holders may be engaged through interviews
or could create content for a channel such as this. Then the public can
fully engage on various other platforms, citing content that comes directly
from Parliament and sharing it on social platform of choice.
Due to the positive feedback Mzalendo Trust got from the “Peoples’ Shujaaz”
awards given to Parliamentarians who had excelled in representation,
legislation and oversight, the next step would be to interview and cover
work done specifically by our Parliamentarians beyond the political
soundbites that we regularly consume. There is already a lot of public
activity, where exerts of TV video programming on Youtube are shared on
Facebook and WhatsApp as an example of what is possible.
Senate can definitely look into a law that would give counties the legal
means to allow access to legislative bills in county parliaments to the
public and and collect documentable public feedback to facilitate the
legislative bill development. That would be a good first step documenting
and reviewing public participation in legislative bill development at the
Lead, Design and Development, Dokeza Platform
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2018 14:47:19 +0300
> From: “Grace Mutung’u (Bomu)” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: KICTAnet ICT Policy Discussions <