Kenya: The Government is Dedicated to Supporting Civil Society

A law enacted more than a decade ago to govern civil society organisations has now been operationalised, President William Ruto has announced.

The execution of the legal instrument to make the Public Benefits Organisations Act operational, the President said, demonstrates the government’s commitment to forging a strong partnership with civil society.

He explained that this is aimed at advancing the country’s pursuit of sustainable and inclusive development.

“Civil society has a role to play in the development of our country. We may not necessarily always agree, but that is the beauty of having diverse opinions,” he added.

President Ruto pointed out that the Act has consolidated all legislations governing civil society organisations into one predictable legal regime.

“We have made it possible for Public Benefit Organisations from outside Kenya not to be taken through unnecessary vigorous processes before they begin their operations in Kenya,” he said.

The President was speaking at the closing session of the United Nations Civil Society Conference at the United Nations Office in Nairobi.

He said strengthening civil society is part of the government’s effort to build an all-of-society coalition that brings together government, the opposition, NGOs religious institutions and other groups.

He said this was the surest way of addressing exclusion and marginalisation that promote poverty and inequality.

President Ruto explained that the government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda identifies development as an inclusive and collective endeavour.

“It is not a special and exclusive project of the Executive or the public sector defined by narrow objectives or interests,” he said.

Saying that civil society plays a critical role in shaping policies, driving change and keeping governments in check, the President called for the empowerment of the youth to enable them to make their contribution to the nation’s development.

“It is our responsibility to meaningfully involve them in shaping the future by consistently taking deliberate steps to dismantle barriers hindering their participation in political and public life,” he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said civil society has played a critical role in enhancing democracy and governance and acted as a bridge between people and their representatives.

He called on the civil society to play an even greater role in international politics and the governance of international institutions.

“This is the key to rebuilding trust, restoring legitimacy and ensuring international decisions are shaped by the concerns, values and the experiences of the people across the globe,” he said.

The conference that started on Wednesday ended today.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of President of the Republic of Kenya.

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