MjadalaVII: Re-igniting Hope and Civic Responsibility Ahead of 2016


Friday, 4th December 2015, 4.30pm - 7.00pm


Mageuzi Theater – Pawa254, Africa Alliance of YMCAs Building,

State House Crescent, off State House Road, Nairobi.

1. Ory Okolloh-Mwangi Director of Investments – Omidyar Network, activist and lawyer. 
2. Barrack Muluka Editor - Mvule, and a regular opinion leader on matters integrity
Renee Ngamau Co-host - Capital in the Morning, Capital FM


EVENT BRIEFING NOTE: According to the Transparency International-Kenya Report (2014), the country scored 25 on a scale of zero to 100, down two points from 2014’s score of 27, signifying that corruption is worsening. The Auditor-General Report for FY 2013/14 indicates that only 1% of government spending and a quarter of the budget were properly accounted for. Scandals concerning government procurement and land grabbing have now become a daily occurrence, with zero prosecutions on the same. Negative political utterances are on the rise threatening to divide the country along ethnic and tribal lines. As more Kenyans continue to die from insecurity and terror attacks, security agencies continue to conduct operations against individuals and groups suspected to be associated with terror attacks. These operations have resulted in over 120 egregious human rights violations that include 25 extrajudicial killings and 81 enforced disappearances (KNCHR 2015). The Government continues to go in circles over PBOs, as the civic space appears to be closing, shrinking the voices that hold the Government accountable. The constitutional promise of Integrity, Equality and Public Participation remain suffocated by tokenistic participation strategies, disrespect for the law and intentional shrinking of civil liberties.


Despite these challenges, the civic voice is louder today than ever before. The courageous action by pupils and teachers of Lang’ata Road Primary School set precedence in the struggle to reclaim stolen public land across the country. For the first time in Kenya’s history steps have been taken to title and protect all public schools in Kenya. Since the Langa’ata Road public action, the state, citizens and school communities have reclaimed more than 10 public spaces. Progressive hashtags such as #147notjustanumber demonstrate the power of citizens to mobilise effectively. The groundbreaking decision by the High Court to allow formal registration of LGBT organisations was not only a significant victory for the LGBT community in Kenya but elsewhere in Africa. The protest by 900 women on the streets of Nairobi resulted in the introduction of new stiff sentences for stripping and assault in the Amendments of the Security Bill (2014).

The year 2015 has seen Kenya cross the threshold to become a low-middle income country. The size of the economy is 25% larger than previously thought and Kenya is now the 5th largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa behind Nigeria, South Africa, Angola and Sudan. Kenya continues to carve out a distinct place in the community of nations. The apology by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta for historical injustices and his call to the National Assembly to adopt the TJRC Report without delay demonstrate the opportunities for positive change in Kenya today

Structured around a moderator and discussants, this SID Mjadala Series brings together key civic actors at the end of 2015 to reflect on strategies for re-igniting hope and agency behind the constitution. Some of the key questions we will explore are:

  1. Which civic and state actions in 2015 should we be most proud of?
  2. How can we break through the barriers of collective inertia, fear, apathy and public self-doubt?
  3. How can we break through institutional constraints, competing pressures and barriers that make good governance so difficult to achieve?
  4. Where could transformational non-conformists focus their energies in 2016?

Watch a Recording of Mjadala VI here