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CSOs OPEN LETTER ON THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) BILL, 2013.pdf

CSOs OPEN LETTER ON THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) BILL, 2013.pdf

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Published by Maskani Ya Taifa
WHY THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) BILL, 2013 IS A BAD LAW FOR THE COUNTRY AND WHY KENYA’S CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS WILL RESIST IT.
WHY THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) BILL, 2013 IS A BAD LAW FOR THE COUNTRY AND WHY KENYA’S CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS WILL RESIST IT.

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Published by: Maskani Ya Taifa on Nov 08, 2013
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OPEN LETTER THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) BILL, 2013: WHY IT IS A BAD LAW FOR THE
COUNTRY AND WHY KENYA’S CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS WILL RESIST IT
 Members of the CSO Reference Group, a loose network of civil society organisations (CSOs) working in a wide range of arenas for the public benefit across the country, are deeply disappointed with the recent publication, by the Attorney-General of the Republic of Kenya, on October 30, 2013,of the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2013 and particularly of the proposed amendments to the Public Benefit Organisations (PBO) Act, 2013. The Bill seeks, amongst other things, to amend parts of the Act (No. 18 of 2013), popularly known as the PBO Act, a progressive legislation that the 10
th
 Parliament passed before the March 2013 General Elections. CSOs have played a critical role in promoting and delivering socio-economic development, promoting social justice, good governance and democratic development, rights of participation, fundamental rights and freedoms and a wide variety of other outcomes for the benefit of Kenyans. The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill proposes among other things to cap external funding of PBOs to not more than fifteen percent of the total funding. If passed and implemented, the Bill
will have serious negative impacts on Kenya’s social and economic development.
 It will not
only constrain the civil society’s contribution to national development but also make the attainmen
t of socio-economic rights that much more difficult. If one looks at the fact that civil society contributes over KSh 100 billion to the economy, employs more people than the manufacturing sector per capita, benefits millions of Kenyans throughout the country and especially the vulnerable and marginalized amongst others, it is difficult to see how the Jubilee government will achieve many of its campaign promises, let alone Vision 2030. Since September 2009, the CSO Reference Group has mobilized, informed and consulted widely on the reform of the NGO Act and provided recommendations on the development of the new PBO Act. The Reference Group sincerely appreciated the spirit of cooperation afforded by the government, Parliamentarians and other stakeholders in the formulation and passing of the PBO Bill into law. The PBO Bill was the product of a foresighted Member of Parliament, the Hon. Sophia Abdi Noor,
who consulted representatives of the country’s development sector, key government departments
like the Non-governmental Organizations Coordination Board, and led the development of a new law that was not only in conformity with the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 but was also reflective of a shift in government-civil society relations. The Statute Law (Miscellaneo
us Amendments) Bill’s proposed amendments to the PBO Act are
ill advised, unconstitutional in their overall scope and content, and brazenly undermine the spirit of the PBO Act. Consequently, they should be re-drafted before the Bill is tabled in the National Assembly. With the publication of the amendments, the overarching objectives of the Act are under jeopardy. Key among these have been:

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Maskani Ya Taifa added this note
Kenyans should wake up and defend their open spaces. A free media and vibrant civil society organisations remain the backbone of any democratic state. Any effort to silence the voices of the voiceless and their contribution means sinking back to authoritarianism. A good constitution should be complemented by good laws. What Parliament is doing is unconstitutional and should stop forthwith.
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