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Making everyone accountable

30th February marked the Good Governance Festival held at Kibera grounds in Nairobi, Kenya.

The event which was organized by ActionAid Kenya and  partners like Kibera Community Development Agenda (KCODA), Activista, Global Platform and Korogocho FM(KOCH) , aimed at addressing  awareness on the power of tax in delivering basic services, fighting corruption and issues  of governance in the country . More than 400 citizens were reached who included youth, women, children and men????

A series of caravans were carried out in December 2015 to sensitize the Kenyan youth, women and Kenyans at large on issues of tax reforms and the importance and need for accountable leadership. This year’s theme was ‘STOP CORRUPTION’ following the consequent cases of graft at the Kenyan national and devolved government system with a vision to create awareness on the power of tax in delivering basic services for citizens living in poverty and exclusion. The money in question has majorly been from taxes paid by the common mwananchi through Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Value Added Tax (VAT).

ActionAid  Kenya(AAK) is demanding for tax reforms in the Kenyan tax architecture for progressive spending by ensuring transparency in allocation of tax incentives to multi-national companies for the delivery of basic services to the citizens of this country. Through working with anti-corruption platforms established in 9 counties ActionAid works in, it aspires to strengthen the platform’s advocacy against corruption at county level by strategically working with supply and demand side to monitor provision of basic services. 

The key note speakers were, Kenyatta Maitha-Head of Policy and Campaigns AAK, Susan Otieno-Head of Fundraising AAK, Pascaline Kang’ethe- Manager, Policy and Campaigns AAK, Luckystar Miyandazi-Africa Campaign Coordinator AAI. The message on demanding for transparency with tax payer money was emphasized to ensure everyone understands they have has an equal right to good health, education and infrastructure. While delivering this message, citizens were educated on electing their leaders wisely through focusing on issue based politics instead of receiving handouts ,and demanding accountability,

“For every commodity that you purchase, you pay tax. It’s for you to hold the government accountable to deliver basic services you’re entitled to. It’s your right and that of your children to access good health and a proper education” Ms. Pascaline Kang’ethe

The festival was made as interactive as possible by ensuring the audience keyed in their opinion and understanding on issues of tax. This was made possible through Q&A sessions, where the winners got a ‘stop corruption’ t-shirt. In addition, they were offered the platform to showcase their talents like dancing and rapping messages on stop corruption and accountability.

The main performance of the day was carried by local artist Julius Owino (Juliani)  who is known for doing music on governance and the day to day lives of the people. Besides singing, he advised the people to vote in their leaders wisely by ensuring they are people who have their issues at heart.

‘Ensure that the leaders you vote in are people you have critically thought about. Don’t vote in a leader because he has offered you a handout out worth ksh50.It will translate to a five year loan you’ll pay through poor education, medical services, infrastructure and increased taxation. Think about yourself and your children before you cast in your vote’ Juliani emphasized.