By KNA, Nairobi
When the African Union (AU) met in Addis Ababa for its 28th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government two years ago, Kenya made history as the first country to voluntarily submit to be reviewed for the second time.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was peer-reviewed on behalf of Kenya on January 28, 2017, but this was ignored by the media because as at the time, the media focused on the election of the organization’s new Commission Chair.
This glaring omission was especially sore for the then Programme Director and now CEO of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) in the State department of Planning, Mr. Daniel Osiemo, who is keen that what happened in Addis Ababa during the AU heads of state summit should not be lost.
“When President Uhuru Kenyatta was peer-reviewed on behalf of the country during the Forum for Heads of State and Government participating in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the secretariat gave the country very high rankings in the area of governance and the enactment of a pro-people constitutional dispensation in 2010,” said Mr Osiemo during the interview with KNA in his office at Liaison House, State House Avenue, Nairobi.
Kenya’s review process
APRM is an instrument voluntarily acceded to by member states of the AU as a self- monitoring mechanism with the mandate of ensuring that the policies and practices of participating countries conform to the agreed political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards contained in the declaration of democracy, political, economic and corporate governance that was approved by the AU summit in 2002. APRM has a membership of 36 AU members.
The review process started in 2014 with a self- assessment whose report was shared with the APRM continental secretariat in mid-2016 upon which a Country Review team under Prof. Al-Amin Abumanga, a member of the APRM Panel of Eminent persons, was appointed to undertake an independent review. The review commenced in September 2016 and was completed in mid-November of the same year.
The report developed by the Country Review Team, which was presented by Prof. Abu-manga at the Summit, Kenya was commended for the tremendous progress made in the area of democratization, especially following the promulgation of the constitution of Kenya in 2010.
“Key among the notable achievements cited in the APRM report was the establishment of the devolved system of government in Kenya in 2013 which has progressively resolved issues of perceived marginalisation in some communities and made it possible for citizens across the country to actively participate in the decision- making processes on governance and development in their respective counties,” he noted.
The review gave the country a pat on the back for establishing, among other facilities, the Women Enterprise Fund, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the Uwezo Fund to address the empowerment of special groups which were hitherto ignored before the 2010 constitutional dispensation.
“In his response, President Uhuru Kenyatta paid tribute to APRM Panel of Eminent Persons for their continued good work in steering the APRM process in all member states and in particular singled out Kenya’s Country Review team for the manner in which it conducted the review,” said Mr. Osiemo.
The president highlighted the progress that Kenya has made in terms of governance and socio-economic development since the base review which was held in Banjul, the Gambia in 2006, where Kenya was first peer-reviewed. He further provided some insights on the issues raised in the report by the Panel of Eminent Persons on Kenya. On the constitutional front, the president informed the forum that the Kenyan government has remained on course and to date has observed all stipulated timelines for the implementation of the constitution.