Maskani Conversations is an interactive online-to-offline initiative hosted by Maskani Ya Taifa, to facilitate public participation and promote engagement on issues relevant to all Kenyans. Events are organized to bring together progressive Kenyans in one space to discuss and take action on identified issues/events of county or national interest.
The vision of these conversations is to enlightened Kenyans who own their citizenship. Our mission is to create a citizen’s platform/entity that facilitates public participation and promotes engagement on issues relevant to all Kenyans.
- An active citizen’s platform that amplifies Kenyans stories and highlights issues that need to be addressed;
- Public/private institutions and duty bearers held accountable through catalysed participation and engagement of citizens;
- Kenyans are obligated to nurture their citizenship by promoting ethical practices and shared values.
Maskani Conversations takes place in various parts of the country. Some of the issues discussed are:
- In Lamu, there is an economic drop. The national government has banned charcoal and mikoko (firewood). That was the source of income for many people and now they do not have the means of getting money.
- Devolution; there is no much involvement when it comes to public participation and the development of the county.When county funds come the leaders do their own plans according to how they choose to.
- People from the island do not benefit as much as outsiders do.
- Water and Health is an issue in Lamu East, yet the leaders have used 80% on roads and infrastructure.
- Security is an issue
- Self-employment is an issue. The people do not have enough resources to start their own businesses. The county government is not ready to support people from the ground. The Peace campaigns in November had issues between NASA and Jubilee. The Maskani team approached youth and told them that they should not die for politics.
- The team organized a debate for the governors to tell the people on their plans for the county. However, this did not go through but the plans for the next election are underway.
- There was data by IRC spreading that in Turkana parents are forcing girls to sell their bodies for money however when the team did research on the ground they realized that it was false information.
- Youth have talent but they lack a platform to showcase their talent.
- There is no budget to help the talented youth
- Use of hard drugs
- Gender Based Violence cases. 262 cases have not been addressed by the county. There is no way forward at the moment
- Higher insecurity because of crime
- Tujikinge na maugonjwa, Tutoe ujinga, Tutoe Baa la Njaa
- There is high unemployment rate
- Drug use
- Drugs have led to insecurity in the county
- Poverty in Kilifi was highlighted as a major issue. The sources of income are not well spread
- The members claim that commercial sex workers have increased leading to breakage of marriages
- There are no platforms to fight for rights. People need to know where to go and collaborate
- Low participation of women in county matters
- Clashes in clan conflict and boundaries
- Tribal ethnicity
- Failures of the government and security apparatus
- There is a don’t care attitude from the community
- Clannism is high especially when choosing leaders
- Capacity to engage systems is not there. There Is lack of capacity building
- Identification of key participants is important ( Most of them are after allowances ) Choose the right audience or targets
- Access to information within the community is a challenge
- One cow initiative was meant to look at the people in the society who do not have income and give the people a cow. The people who are being given are people related to the decision makers and not the right people and the process is corrupt
- There are no youth friendly services for young people by the government. They say that NGOs will do it
- Community administrator interviews conducted but no one is placed for the job
- Budgeting process CDP was done but no feedback on it.
- Support petitioning of the county government (Maskani should help)
- Rising cases of corruption with the Garissa county government/ government institutions.
- Clan rivalry
- Poverty and marginalisation
- Torture by government forces (KDF)
- State of Garissa County ( Cleanliness)
- With the influx of colleges and Universities, Eldoret has become a market for hard drugs
- Youth in Eldoret experience hardship in accessing loans or startup capital for business hence wandering into crime
- Most youth feel they are lagging behind in terms of technology and lack of proper information in regard to social media
- Leaders in Eldoret branding youth activism as a form of radicalization every time they question governance matters
- Limited employment opportunities as those available are only distributed to the majority tribe in the area
- Youth in Eldoret feel the need to be more engaged in activism that centers on governance and advocacy
Through discussions it was realized that issues in area were;
- Early marriage (Kwale County)
- Empowering and mentoring youth on the need for education (especially young girls)
- Drug addiction
- Educating the young people against radicalization and extremism
- Empowering young people through sports and peace building activities
- Educating the coast region people on the need for (Access of information) and mostly on Land matters.
- Educating the people of Coast region on the need to embrace Devolution
- How to question their leadership/institution based on Chapter 4 and 6 of our 2010 Constitution.
The residents in Chuka were told to evacuate from Chuka forest by the government. Magundu Ma Chuka, the land that stretches for 12 kilometres from Chuka to Embu, on which they planted 40 acres of trees, is the bone of contention. They complain that they have been marginalised for a long time. In order to safeguard their community land, they stood against the fencing off of this parcel of land.
- Question about public participation
- Need for a third voice in the political arena
- A number of youth in Nakuru lack basic education
- Bad governance-infighting between the Nakuru MPs and the Governor
- Rampant arbitrary arrests of youth in Nakuru
- #FreeWifi as alleged by the Government not working
- Eviction of Traders
- Land Grabbing of the Gioto dumpsite
The members of Maskani Kisumu said that Kenyans need to trust each other in order to move forward. They demanded for free, fair and peaceful elections. Members raised a concern that Kisumu residents could not openly associate themselves with other political parties other than NASA for fear of getting attacked. They said that the other political seats were open and people openly talked about their affiliate but when it came to presidential seat it was different as tribalism took precedent. Their view was that tribalism needs to end in Kenya for the country to move forward. They raised a worry on Whatsapp admins being arrested and gave a scenario that an admin could be asleep and hate speech is sent at that time. Again, there is no way a Whatsapp admin can delete messages from their side. The members encouraged youth to get an education because a better educated youth has a growing mind and will build a better nation.
Eldoret members of Maskani conversations reiterated that youth need to vote for what they believe in and not because of a party. They felt that this time the youth had a voice and were diverse. They said that they will exercise their voting rights no matter any threats from any politician. Members felt that Kenyan politicians were a reflection of who we are as a society. They mentioned the Constitution being a means of new hope in Kenya but the lack of its full implementation is lagging the country behind.
- Lack of employment opportunities
- Corruption among government institutions
- Nepotism in issing public services e.g tenders
- Lack of initiative for some youth to better themselves
- Devolved government has worked but not to their expectations as youth
- Poverty among especially the youth which leads to bad decision making
- There is need for youth to participate in political decisions so therefore strive to get positions that can make that happen
- Youth in Kitui need to strive to get ways in which they can help their communities and not just idle around looking for fast money.