30 November 2011
NAIROBI, KENYA - On this date, the Security Research and Information Centre (SRIC) held the first of its Stakeholders' Dialogue Forums, to be held quarterly under a project themed "Leveraging Political Space in the New Kenyan Constitutionalism: Enhancing Civil Society and Community Engagement with the 'Agenda Four Reforms," which SRIC is currently implementing jointly with the African Security Sector Network (ASSN).
The project aims to facilitate momentum towards the finalisation of the "Agenda Four Reforms", a series of indispensable reforms that were identified by Kenya's national unity government with the aim of liberating the country from historical grievances that precipitated deadly ethnic and class clashes in the wake of the disputed 2007 presidential election, leaving an estimated 1,300 people dead and another 350,000 displaced.
SRIC is specifically focussing on aspects of the "Agenda Four Reforms" that relate to Security and Justice. The quarterly stakeholders' forums are aimed at providing a platform for key stakeholders to take stock of the pace and direction of the "Agenda Four Reforms", thereby ensuring the process remains on track, identifying challenges on the path towards reform and collectively devising appropriate ways of overcoming such challenges.
The inaugural forum, held at the Nairobi Safari Club, brought together virtually all stakeholders involved in the implementation of the "Agenda Four Reforms" and some of the implementation committees that were set up following the promulgation of Kenya's new constitution in August 2010 as the first step of the "Agenda Four Reforms".
There were 28 participants, including members of the civil society, officials from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration, the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the State Law Office, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the Kenya Police Service and members of the academia. The ASSN was represented at the forum by its Information and Communications Officer, Philip Emase, who gave an overview of the ASSN's mission and its relationship with SRIC.
Discussions ranged from in-depth analyses of the current state of affairs in Kenya; the challenges of building a truly cohesive nation following the deadly ethnic and class violence that occurred during the 2007/2008 post election period; opportunities and challenges for national reconciliation; discussion on the particular aspects of the Kenya Police Service that need reform, as well as future prospects for broader Security and Justice Reforms.
Going forward, the meeting resolved that as the country inches closer to the next election in 2012 - the first to be held under the new constitution - the civil society needs to proactively engage with the other stakeholders and especially the governmental ones so as to ensure the "Agenda Four Reforms" are implemented on schedule to avoid the possibility of violence around the 2012 presidential election, which is now only a few months away.
SRIC will lead these efforts by maintaining constant engagement with relevant government departments and agencies though dialogue; providing any necessary expert support or advice that may be required in order to stay on course; monitoring the implementation process and timelines as entrenched in the new constitution; conducting civic education programmes; and undertaking periodic research to measure the perception and level of knowledge of the implementation process among the Kenyan citizenry.