Leaders of Nakuru Civilian Oversight Initiative Caucus have threatened to move to High Court if the County government will fail to incorporate citizens’ views in the 2020/2021 Budget process.
Laban Musundi Nanzushi and John Ndung’u Muthoni while noting that public gatherings have been banned due to covid-19, called on the county government of Nakuru to ensure online platforms are utilized.
The duo say this will ensure public participation to collect views and feedback from the public in the entire budget process.
Through a letter to the County Ministry of Finance and Planning copied to County Assembly of Nakuru and Director of Budget, the two citizens are calling on the county to ensure qualitative and quantitative public participation in the entire process.
They argue that public participation is a right imposed by the constitution of Kenya 2010 which was not suspended by COVID-19.
The citizens have now put the county on notice that failure to comply will see them move to court to seek nullification of the entire process.
“We know there is COVID-19 and public gatherings were banned but that does not mean that the constitution 2010 that allows public participation was suspended. The county should ensure public participation through online platforms failure to which we shall move to High court to have the entire budget process declared null and void” said Musundi in a phone interview.
The letter was received by the relevant authorities on Monday, May 18, 2020.
This even Benson Macharia from Friends of Devolution lobby group says the citizens have a right to participate in budgeting process no matter the circumstances such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, agrees that in order to comply with the government directive on covid-19, the county government should embrace online platforms such as WhatsApp groups and Facebook.
According to Macharia, this will ensure public views are collected through memorandum and submitted to the Budget department.
He also appealed to the County Government of Nakuru through the Budget department to incorporate mainstream media and community radio stations on matters public participation especially during this moment of COVID-19.
And for those who cannot make it to the online platforms, Macharia says the county should work closely with the administrators to ensure the citizens can as well submit their views through a memorandum to the ward administrators.
“The county has the capacity to ensure public participation even during this period of COVID-19 through online platforms such as the ward WhatsApp groups. They can also embrace the media such as newspapers and radio stations to ensure citizens’ views are collected through memorandums” said Macharia.