Articles

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

By Caroline Boyani

A man that fails out of ignorance is different from one who fails from a lack of access to key information regarding choices that critically will transform his life for the better or worse. A lot of information lies in our surroundings, it’s our responsibility to seek and utilize it for the desired change. Almost a year since the last national elections and yet most of us fumble with words when asked if we understand the roles of the leaders we elected starting from the member of county assembly at the grassroots. In addition, some of us voted for individuals we only saw twice or thrice, and to top it all we did not vet them.

Civic education unlike a decade ago is readily accessible to those interested. Various Non- governmental organizations set aside resources to educate residents on their rights, the roles of various elected leaders, and measures to take in case of incompetence by the leaders. Understanding who is responsible for what will help focus on accountability and reduce the blame game. With the current state of the economy, some are glad they did not vote, some reaped rewards while others regret for the desired expectations have not been met yet. Some voted for the handouts, due to tribe and friendship, and others to make a change.

In one of the public participations I attended, the critical issues raised had been well thought out and eloquently expressed. Youths comprised the most attendance and their understanding of constitutional processes was admirable, they are the leaders of today since the future is obscure. They understand that it’s important to hold their leaders accountable for their promises. They spoke in one voice condemning the manipulation of some leaders who are polite during campaigns but once elected disappear, ignoring problems the residents are going through.

The youth undergo hardships due to a lack of employment that traps them in drug abuse and violence. This menace cannot change the day and requires the participation of everyone in society. If they are impacted by skills and funds they can be able to do something meaningful with their lives. While civil societies and the government can empower the youth, it’s their sole decision to ignore or make amends. Through art and creativity, one can explore their hobbies, talents and make a change. While the chief was present, the elected leaders such as the MCA were not. These are some of the vital opportunities they should take advantage of to assess their performance.

Individual effort is important in search for change. It would require you to take time to search, reads and understand some of the legislative and budget documents to understand how money has been distributed and used. Let us not burden a few individuals to do the work, this should be a collective exercise. Joint effort can bring about affirmative action and set standards for incoming leaders. We chose the leaders but if we do not remind them that they have a role to play, that there is power in the masses and that we have read and understood legislation, they will forever drag us on the floor. Knowledge gives us power, unity gives us strength, together let us reclaim our cities and make decisions that the future generation will be grateful for.

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