Lamu – The Muslim Women Advancement of Rights and Protection (MWARP) Lamu has initiated a campaign urging the Lamu County government to adopt an Access to Information Act. The enactment of this legislation would be instrumental in granting citizens easier access to public records and information, reflecting a significant stride toward heightened governmental transparency.
According to Kenya News Agency, the advocacy for this legislative change was prominently featured during a stakeholder forum led by the group’s coordinator, Umulkheir Ahmed. The forum, hosted at the Lamu County Commissioner’s office, became a nexus for discussions emphasizing the vital role that the Access to Information Bill would play in fostering public empowerment and the oversight of public resource utilization.
Ahmed provided insight into the ongoing collaborative process with county officials to craft a bill that will delineate the parameters for public information access, citing the specific example of bursary and grant status as a key area of interest for citizens. The envisioned legislation would mark an improvement in public trust and perception of governmental institution efficacy by ensuring the availability of information that has traditionally been inaccessible.
The dialogue at the forum also featured Fahad Changi, MWARP’s Communications, Monitoring, and Evaluation Officer, who highlighted the broader implications of the proposed bill, including the enhancement of journalistic freedom and the strengthening of governance through proactive public engagement.
In an affirmative response, Lamu County’s Finance Chief Officer, Salma Ali, assured the forum of the county’s allegiance to transparency, referencing an accolade for transparency and active efforts to disseminate public information via the county’s official website.
Moreover, Philip Oloo, the Lamu Central Assistant County Commissioner, expressed his support for the bill, acknowledging its potential to simplify the process of public scrutiny of officials and ensuring equitable access to information, which he deemed a fundamental right for all citizens.
The push for the Access to Information Act by MWARP, and the supportive stance of the county’s authorities, depict a concerted move toward solidifying open governance and enhancing civic engagement within Lamu County.