Governors urged to adopt access to information law

Governor Amason Kingi receives a gift from the chairperson of the Commission on Administrative Justice Florence Kajuju at his office in Kilifi on September 17, 2020.

Photo credit: Charles Lwanga | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Mr Kingi said the county received the model law on March this year, but efforts to draft the law were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Mr Kingi, who chairs the Council of Governors Legal Affairs Committee, promised to rally his colleagues in support of the model law to be adopted by all counties. 

The Commission on Administrative Justice (Ombudsman) has urged counties to adopt and implement the Access to Information Act, 2016.

“In 2016, the Parliament passed a law on access to information anchored in article 35 of the Constitution so that citizens are able to get information from county and national governments,” CAJ chairperson Florence Kajuju said.

Speaking after a meeting with Governor Amason Kingi while accompanied by other commissioners to check on the compliance in Kilifi County, Ms Kajuju said taxpayers demand accountability from public servants.

“If information is released to citizens, then they would reduce the number of complaints the commission receives,” she said.

The commission has visited Laikipia, Kisii, Busia and Kajiado counties, distributing a model law to guide the devolved units on bill preparation.

Ms Kajuju urged Governor Kingi, who is also the chairman of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee in the Council of Governors (COG), to lobby other governors to adopt the law in their counties.

In order to improve their services, Ms Kajuju disclosed that the CAJ would open an office in Nyahururu to add to the other four offices located in Mombasa, Isiolo, Kisumu and Eldoret.

“Although we still have our officers spread across 11 Huduma Centres in the country and in cases where there are no offices, the commission visit as a team to address the problem,” she added.

Mr Kingi said the county received the model law on March this year, but efforts to draft the law were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. He said information on how the Sh220 million Covid-19 emergency funds was spent has been published online.

“If you search in the public procurement portal, you will find information displaying the full report on Covid-19 emergency funds expenditure. This report is online and can be accessed worldwide,” he added.