At a groundbreaking event hosted by New Partnership for Africa’s Development – Africa Peer Review Mechanism (NEPAD/APRM) Kenya Secretariat at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies this Friday, 29th September 2023, a National Governance Report based on the inaugural County Peer Review Mechanism (CPRM) was launched ceremoniously to mark a major milestone in Africa’s journey to raising standards of efficient, effective, and reliable governance.
The event graced by representatives from government ministries such as Kenya’s National Treasury and Economic Planning Ministry who’s Cabinet Secretary (CS) Hon. Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u is the Kenya Focal Point for the African Peer Review Mechanism, representatives of counties, and representatives of non-state actors also introduced a nine-member “Panel of Eminent Persons” much to the excitement of all in attendance including representatives from APRM Continental Secretariat.
Founded in 2003, the The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a self-monitoring mechanism of the African Union (AU’s) through which countries of Africa inspire, motivate, and help each other aspire to, and achieve mutually desirable governance practices and realities. Although the APRM initially coordinated peer reviews of national governments only, the APRM has now accomplished the commendable fete of conducting a peer review of sub-national governments (County Governments).
“Kenya is, therefore, honoured to have been selected to pilot the implementation of the NGR framework.” reads a part of CS Hon. Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u’s speech
Coming just a little over a decade since the promulgation of the constitution of Kenya in August 2010 which set the stage for devolution in Kenya, this first of its kind peer review in Africa has provided data that will be used to foster improvement in county governance nationally, regionally, and continentally.
“This selection reflects the Continent’s confidence in Kenya’s governance reforms and practices, as well as the appreciation of Kenya’s continued commitment to implementing the Agenda 2063 in the area of governance.” says CS Ndung’u
On his part Dr. Samori A. Okwiya, PhD. – Chief Executive Officer – NEPAD/APRM Kenya Secretariat stressed the importance of collaborative and effective governance, calling on all African countries to embrace the CPRM.
“..the NGR is a credible instrument for tracking progress in the implementation of reforms against the 6 core governance indicators, that are outlined in the framework. Kenya encourages other member states to consider implementing the initiative, in their jurisdictions.” pointed out Dr. Okwiya
Key indicators through which the AU believes APRM member states can assess their governance performance include; rule of law; transparency and accountability; participation and human rights, democracy, elections and freedoms, peace and security; and socio-economic governance.
In a much anticipated turn of events, distinguished members of the Panel of Eminent Persons were unveiled amid nods of approval and applause. The panel members who enjoy a significant level of public popularity and wide acclaim for their individual roles in spearheading various positively progressive efforts for African society, and mankind at large will work as volunteers and shall be entrusted with the role of presiding over the County Peer Review Mechanism (CPRM).
“The CPRM has led to vibrant inter-county exchange of ideas,” said Ms. Nyambura Njaramba, Council of Governors representative.
She went on to confirm that the CPRM has proven it embodies the spirit of devolution whereby counties are at liberty to pursue unique trajectories to prosperity in achieving local, national and continental objectives.
“Let us transform findings into concrete actions.” added Ms. Njaramba
Having met fundamental requirements for the panel which include high moral stature and commitment to the ideals of Pan-Africanism;
Archbishop (Rtd) Eliud Wabukhala, former Chairperson Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission; Prof. Olive Mugenda, Chairperson of the Board of Directors at the Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital; Amb. Rukia Ahmed Subow, Former Kenya Ambassador to Iran Former Chairperson Maendeleo ya Wanawake; Amb. Dr. John Kakonge, President of the Association of Former International Civil Servants and former Kenya ambassador to Geneva; Dr. Josephine Kulea, Founder of Samburu Girls Foundation; Dr. Wanjiru Kamau, Founder, President and CEO of Africa Immigrants and Refugees Foundation; Dr. Hassan Bashir, Executive Director, Agent for Inclusive Insurance Development; Mr. Pete Ondeng, former CEO, NEPAD/APRM Kenya Secretariat; and Mr. Salesa Adano Abudo, Commissioner, Teachers Service Commission, now form the nine-member Panel expected to utilise their services and expertise to the promotion of good governance in our counties through the CPRM, just as their counterparts in the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons do at the Continental level.
“The panel members have been selected owing to their exemplary track record in serving Kenyans in various capacities over the years. They are meant to enhance the integrity, credibility and objectivity of the county peer reviews so that the reports can truly reflect reality on the ground and serve as a solid foundation for policy decisions and actions.” says National Treasury and Economic Planning CS Hon. Dr. Njuguna Ndung’u
In the interim, the panel will assess the data gathered from a sample size of 11 counties in Kenya namely Busia, Siaya, Vihiga, Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia, Kakamega, Nandi, Machakos, Makueni, Nyeri, and Elgeyo Marakwet, after which they will offer their objective views about the state of affairs in those counties as per the data, paving the way for further societal development.
“The County Peer Review Mechanism will be implemented in all the 47 counties, using the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics recommended Focus group discussions and key informant interview tools. The process will be subjected to a validation engagement, between the esteemed panel members and the county leadership, and thereafter submitted to the CPRM Summit for a peer review conversation.” explained NEPAD/APRM CEO Dr. Samori Okwiya
As the sun sets on a day that saw NEPAD/APRM Continental Secretariat give Kenya a pat on the back for leading Africa in implementing the County Peer Review Mechanism showcasing the countries “commitment in supporting and cooperating with AUs initiative which is a milestone that can be used as a point of reference in Kenya, Africa, and beyond”, Kenyan stakeholders remain challenged and called upon to keep eyes on the ball, and even aim higher if needs be.
“Kenya is in the limelight; thus, success is essential.” said National Treasury and Economic Planning CS, “Evidently, ladies and gentlemen, Kenya is walking the talk and it is no surprise that the APRM fraternity naturally considers the country a valued partner in the promotion of good governance not just at the domestic level but also in the Eastern Africa region and the continent in general.”