SIAYA CSOs MEDIA ADDRESS ON SABA SABA DAY 7th JULY 2020 AT SIAYA COUNTY CLUB

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Siaya County Civil Society Network, with support from Community Initiative Action Kenya
marked the historic day dubbed Saba-Saba day on the 7th of July 2020 in Siaya County.

(See below the press statement released)

MARKING 2020 SABA- SABA DAY IN SIAYA COUNTY BY CIVIL SOCIETY
NETWORK
PRESS STATEMENT
2020 TODAY’S THEME: TEKELEZA KATIBA BORESHA MAISHA

Background
Siaya County Civil Society Network is an umbrella of civil society organizations committed towards the achievement of sound policy and good governance in local development, to uplift livelihoods of, especially, the poor and marginalized in Kenya. The Network has been operational since 2010, and has engaged with various relevant state and non-state actors in the quest to promote democracy & good governance in Kenya and defend the constitution of Kenya. This year Saba Saba day marks another opportunity when the CSO groups in Siaya County come together to mobilize for citizens and CSO’s groups support to effective implementation constitution of Kenya 2010 that is a good pointer in the steps made by the country beyond the Saba Saba event that saw riots in Kenya in the fight for democracy and civic space. The theme for today is “Tekeleza Katiba Boresha Maisha”. Indeed our commitment to defend the constitution matters for a better opportunities to the people of Kenya from National Government
to County Governments. Thirty years ago today, an event took place that changed the country’s political landscape
forever: the formation of the Saba Saba movement. The movement was critical in pushing for the repeal Section 2A of the Constitution and paving the way for the reintroduction of multiparty democracy. The movement got the name from the date — July 7 ,1990 — when its leading lights were to hold a rally at Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi, only for police officers to disperse opposition supporters violently. “The ideals and freedom Kenyans fought for are under threat once again. Kenyans should rededicate themselves to the realization of the promise of our Constitution that guarantees the rule of law as the basis of our governance.” Besides the 2010 Constitution that guaranteed political space and civil liberties, the March 9, 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main challenger in the 2013 and 2017 elections has reduced the significance of Saba Saba. “It is now up to the younger generation to ensure that our constitution is implemented and not defiled. As CSO’s Network in Siaya, together we are united for dignity and to continuously struggle against vices that jeopardize realization of Maisha Bora kwa kuteleza Katiba yetu nzuri ya Kenya.

Why Action on this 30th Saba Saba Day
The civil society network believes that all Kenyan institutions, whether government, social, civic or private must contribute to national unity and cohesion. Above all, CSO’s groups are in recognition that over decades, different institutions and processes have been instituted to address different components of the Kenyan problem. The apex
of these attempts was the development and promulgation of Constitution of Kenya 2010 which presented one of the most advanced human, economic and environment rights, introduced devolution, has a chapter on leadership and Integrity and provided for free space for the citizens to engage in all matters pertaining Government. Therefore, on this historic day, we come together to defend our constitution of Kenya on the basis that there must be deliberate
determination to involve all Kenyans so that solutions to emerging issues such as constitutional reforms, fight against corruption, holding leaders accountable, strengthening devolution, decision on leadership are agreed upon and are embraced by all people. Further, as civil society groups our yardsticks today points at the quest for democracy in Kenya that culminated in to chaotic Saba Saba event, the steps made in the country to ensure there is an expanded civic space in Kenya and the offing issues ranging from corruption in Kenya, Human Rights violations, access to justice, state of devolution in our Counties, thus as we mark 30th Saba Saba day today, we echo our stand to defend the constitution of Kenya 2010 and say that involving all Kenyans in matters reforms will ensure that there are clear carrots and sticks for responsibility holders in the implementation of the solutions. From such a process, all
Kenyans will build consensus which is a pathway to national cohesion, equality and justice that the Constitution of Kenya 2010 aspires

Noticeable Emerging Issues
As civil society groups, we have realized the following significant gaps that jeopardize the democratic agenda that was premised by the post Saba Saba event and the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010;
1. Shrinking civic space that compromise citizens participation
2. Corruption incidences and the victims walk free
3. Weak devolution systems that jeopardize services to the people
4. Weak accountability on public resources
5. Delayed justice process
6. Inadequate information to the people
7. Deliberate negligence to involve the people in decision making by the government
authorities
8. Weak oversight processes by County Assemblies
The Spirit of Saba Saba
As we mark this 30th historic day, as civil society groups in Siaya County, we believe that the
spirit of Saba Saba should be demystified in the following areas:
1. Implementing our Constitution of Kenya 2010 to the latter
2. Strengthening devolution for better services for the people and economic growth at the
grass root level
3. Participatory involvement of all Kenyans in democratic process including owning
recommendations made by citizens on key policy and development agenda
4. Fighting corruption and proving to Kenyans that nobody is above the law
5. Participatory oversight and accountability by the people
6. Integrity of our leaders and their commitment to push people’s agenda

7. Independency of key institutions that play significant role in ensuring effective
implementation of the constitution and rule of law
8. Access to information for the citizens including adequate feedback to the citizens by the
authority
9. Equitable share of National resources

Finally, we echo that the ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people and therefore, today’s press release by the CSO network in Siaya marks our efforts reclaim the shrinking civic space and our push to building a democratic state in Kenya founded on social Justice and Human Rights for all.

We summarize by quoting Adlai Stevenson words that say “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime”

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