TI-Kenya convened a forum for the Citizen Accountability Group whose objective is to ensure citizen oversight and engagement in governance processes in Kwale County for improved service delivery. The meeting was held at the Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa on 11th March 2020 with the objective of the meeting being to have a debriefing session with the members where they would share updates on relevant development issues within their wards and reports on their experiences during the public participation forums for the Kwale County Annual Development Plan and the County Fiscal Strategy Paper.
During the forum, it was observed that there were land issues impacting on service delivery and development in the county. Various examples were highlighted as follows; In Kasemeni ward, county officials said that there was lack of development land in Mazeras, hence development projects could not be built in the village unit. There was also an existing dispute concerning the leasing of Mazeras Methodist land to a private developer against the will of the community members . In Ukunda ward, a dispute had arisen regarding the land on which Mkokwani dispensary sits , with a private citizen alleging that the building had encroached into their land. This has led to the dispensary not being functional, thereby impeding delivery of health services.
There were various concerns touching on corruption and abuse of office where cases on irregular allocations of bursary funds had been raised in the region as well as an elected leader who had proposed the construction of a road to his residence. This project was opposed by the citizens.
The forum realized that there was need to ensure that Project Management Committees (PMCs) members are well educated on their roles, to ensure they execute them effectively and they properly conduct oversight over development projects.
Some of the outcomes of the forum were that members should remain alive to gender issues and ensure they incorporate them in their day to day operations. Additionally, as gender champions, they should be conscious of the impact of various projects to the different segments of society and take necessary steps to represent the best interests of these different segments of the community.