Kibwana tips county lawmakers on public participation and civic education

Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana has urged counties to invest in civic education and public participation as a way of facilitating mindset change and enabling the people to take charge of devolution.

Prof Kibwana said poverty, dependency syndrome and community pulse cannot be overcome without the change of mindsets.

He told the County Assembly Members’ Forum in Mombasa on Thursday that engaging the people through public participation was an easy way of helping grow confidence in the management of devolved resources.

“Counties need to invest in civic education, community capacity building and mindset change programs,” said Prof Kibwana.

He also said that legislators need to devolve power, authority and mandate to community members so that they can plan and decide on the issues that affect them.

Prof Kibwana stated: “County governments have to relinquish to the development committees powers to design priorities and even to execute what can be done at community level.”

He noted that there was need for the county governments to come up with capacity building plans for the development committees saying that the capacities become the basis upon which poverty eradication measures and techniques are discussed.

Prof Kibwana said that public participation is not just about gatherings in town halls and therefore should be handled systematically to provide the real needs and priorities for the communities.

“Communities have the solutions for their problems. They lack the capacity and opportunities to plan for themselves and defend what clearly belong to them,” said the governor.

He further added: “Let us devolve the powers of participation to the communities and watch the poser of self-governance taking over this country through our counties.”

More than 2,000 members of the county assemblies and senators are participating in the forum which started on Monday.