By Caroline Katana
Human Rights Agenda Organisation (HURIA) is implementing a program of sensitizing marginalized groups in the Msambweni constituency of Kwale County on the importance of participating in public participation forums and leadership processes.
The three-month program is funded by USAID through Act organization.
Speaking during the sensitization forum in Msambweni social hall HURIA officer Mwinyihaji Chamosi said it is paramount to educate women, youth and disabled persons on how they can enter political parties instead of fighting for nomination positions.
“We have seen many times that young people, women and people with special abilities are given priority by politicians during the campaign period yet after the election no leader recognizes their needs only a few are nominated, we want them to run for political positions and be elected instead of complaining about being excluded,” said Chamosi.
The program is dubbed “Kiongozi Maskani” and involves political leaders having one on one talks with locals.
“Many times when we receive complaints from marginalized groups, we normally ask the political leaders to have a discussion with locals explaining their responsibilities and how they fulfil their promises to the people. We believe that our donor USAID through Act organization will extend the duration of this project so that we can continue to educate people about their constitutional rights,” added Chamosi.
Mwanasiti Bakari Dola from Twendenalo Widows group confirmed the forum has shed light to the vulnerable on the importance of taking part in public participation and how to venture into politics.
“I have never attended a public participation session since the devolution governments started in 2013 because I felt it was meant for only those who are invited but today I have learned I don’t need any invite for me to participate, it is my right to contribute opinions on the budget proposals for development projects, and I have also learned that if I want to vie for the MCA seat, I do not need high academic qualifications,” noted Dola.
Mwinyi Kirozo applauded the program for the civic education that helps them understand their fundamental rights.
“People with disabilities have been excluded in the public participation process, our leaders always have their groups of people who attend the forums yet it is our right to make contributions. We are grateful that HURIA is supporting and encouraging us to fight for political positions from the lower seat of MCA without fear for it is a right of every citizen to vie for political positions, something that the PWDs community has never thought about,” said Kirozo.
Sadiki Zacharia Ouma, an artist who also involves himself in youth social well-being and development in Kwale and Mombasa counties, emphasized the importance of young people understanding their constitutional rights.
“We young people often do not get opportunities like this to be educated about our rights, many of us are not aware of our constitutional rights and our positions in society or in the government despite the fact that young people hold the future leadership, every election period youth are the campaigners of selfish leaders who dump them when they succeed. I want to tell you that forums like this should spread to every corner of Kwale County so that the young people get to know their rights,” said Ouma.
At the same time, he asked the leadership of Kwale County to assist youth in various fields so that they can achieve their goals.