Parliamentary Centre partners with IRI to host Kenyan Delegation

Parliamentary Centre partners with IRI to host Kenyan Delegation

In collaboration with the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Parliamentary Centre hosted a Kenyan Delegation in Ottawa from June 2nd to June 6th, inviting them to participate in a professional development course on the Canadian experience with devolution, inclusive and responsive policy development, and the development of effective sub-national government association.

The International Republican Institute, a Washington, DC-based nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide by developing political parties has worked steadily in Kenya since 1992, focusing on political party development, legislative strengthening, public opinion research, free and fair elections and local democratic governance.

IRI, represented by Mr. John Tomaszewski, Resident Country Director for Kenya and Ms. Ashleigh Whelan, Deputy Director of Democratic Governance, selected the Honourable Albert Kipkogei Kochei, Speaker of the County Assembly in Elgeyo Marakwet County and Secretary General of the County Assemblies Forum, to head the delegation to Canada as part of its Rising Stars program – an initiative dedicated to strengthening key leaders in countries undergoing democratic transition. Honourable Kochei was joined by two members from the Elgeyo Marakwet County Assembly, Honourable Gilbert Kaptugen Cheruiyot and Honourable Festus Korir Kirop.

This visit was organized to support the ongoing devolution process in Kenya, brought about by the new Constitution and the March 2013 election, which saw the establishment of 47 new counties, transferring considerable political, fiscal and administrative authority to this subnational level. The Parliamentary Centre’s program offered the Kenyan delegates an opportunity to learn about budget oversight from a Canadian perspective, and draw best practice examples from Canadian counterparts, in order to assist with the improvement of their own system.

This knowledge exchange provided the participants with a unique opportunity to not only learn about Canada’s experience with budget development, but also the nature of fiscal devolution issues, budget allocation, public consultation and citizen oversight  in the budget process.

Delegates attended meetings and engaged in activities that highlighted Canadian best practices in the areas highlighted above, including the budget processes of the Federal government, Ontario provincial government and the municipal level of government in Canada as well as fiscal transfers between the federal government and the provincial and municipal levels of government in Canada, interprovincial relations, and meetings with key representatives at the City of Ottawa, including the Auditor General and the Integrity Commissioner. As part of the program, Kenyan delegates shared knowledge with experts from Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, representatives from Finance Canada, the City of Ottawa, and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Delegates were very pleased with the knowledge exchange and claimed to have gained exceptional new practical insights that would assist them in Kenya. Honourable Festus Korir Kirop commended the program, stating that one of the most critical knowledge he acquired was in the area of public participation and involvement with citizens – an undeniably critical part of the democratic process.

“I promise to take this in all my undertakings to my electorates,” he said.

The world is evolving, and citizens in developing countries are beginning to see how parliaments and legislatures can be the key to shifting power from the single ruler to a broader group of elected representatives. At the Centre, we are always receiving demands from countries across the world to work with their leaders, engage their citizens and help them develop a stronger Parliament. But the funds to do this work aren’t always easily accessible. If you think like us, and believe that true democratic reform comes from strong and noble leaders, then click here and find out how you can help.