County urged to ease access to information to build public trust

Commission on Administrative Justice has offered a model law to guide the counties in developing relevant laws to ease access to government information

By A Special Correspondent

County governments have been urged to enact laws that promote open governance through easy access to information by both the general public and the media.

Commissioner Lucy Ndung’u of the Commission on Administrative Justice (Office of the Ombudsman) has said that access to government information, by the public and the media, is requisite to building public trust in government offices, as well as in the fight against corruption.

The commissioner spoke during her visit to Kajiado County Assembly on Friday when the Office of the Ombudsan handed to Speaker Johnson Osoi the model law to guide the counties on developing relevant law on ease access to information.

“Ease of access to information will go a long way in giving confidence to the public on what projects and programmes are taking place within the government institutions, it will also promote integrity and ultimately help wage war against corruption,” said Lucy Ndung’u whose organisation seeks to reach out to all the 47 counties.

On his part, Osoi said that the Assembly is committed to ensure that an Access to Information Act is adopted for the benefit of the citizenry, and that their ideas are adequately incorporated in all major decisions that the Legislature and the Executive will undertake as aspired by the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.

“This is timely and we want to assure the public that as the legislative arm of the County Government we are pretty prepared to enact the most relevant and important pieces of legislations that improve the quality of governance in Kajiado,” said the speaker.

Osoi said further said that the Assembly has consistently undertaken open forums like taking plenary sittings to the remote areas in order to give opportunity to the public to glean information, question the staff and their elected representatives on matters devolution programmes and roles of the Assembly.

“As the Assembly, we have been at the forefront to ensure that we disseminate information to relevant stakeholders and the general public. Twice we have done open day for civic education calling for public to interrogate our staff and elected leaders. We have incessantly conducted  ‘Bunge Mashinani’, taking our plenary sessions to the wards before the public and thereafter engage with them on different issues that affect them at grassroots,” said Osoi, who assured the Commission that he would fast track the enactment of the County model law on access to information.

Kajiado County Assembly Clerk Leboo Saisa while lauding the commission for considering the Assembly giving out model law said that the Assembly is determined to come up with user friendly platforms that will enable reachability to larger number of  people on matters public participation and accessing information from the institution.

“We appreciate and promise that we shall move swiftly just like we have successfully employed use of technology when covid pandemic struck, and we shall continuously endeavor to encourage open governance, where all can easily access our information.”

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