Nairobi News


Let’s support MCAs’ public discussion platform

When people elect leaders, they expect them to represent them properly —not only on the floor of the various assemblies but in all areas where they have legitimate concerns to raise.

An elected leader is the bridge between the people and service providers. It means they must always listen to the problems of their people and channel them for action.

That is why the new initiative, Sauti Mtaani, Bonga na Mhesh (Have a voice in your neighbourhood; talk to your leaders) needs your support.

In this scheme MCAs interact with you, to share your problems and it provides a platform to air the wishes to your leaders.

The scheme uses a mobile phone line but the information does not go to an MCA’s personal number. That is called only after the MCA or his or her representative logs into a site connected to the number.

So far, 12 wards in some of Nairobi’s most deprived areas have been shortlisted for the pilot project. The first phase has come to an end and its findings are eye-opening.

Unfortunately, several MCAs have not been active on it. Some may not like the idea of having to be bothered by their electorate.

However others have been very positive about the idea of regular interaction with the people. They need to be supported.

Some of the most active MCAs say the platform has helped them know their wards better — which security lights have gone off and need fixing, for example. 

Others have been told about roads that are in urgent need of repair or of cases of alleged police harassment that needed their intervention.

All these issues are important to voters. It shows them their representatives care about them and are acting on their behalf.

Now, the second phase will soon roll out. It is advisable that civic education takes place to ensure voters do not misuse the platforms to seek personal favours and hand-outs.

They must understand MCAs roles are representation, legislation and oversight.

MCAs should also be encouraged to listen to their people. 

More often than not, pressure from voters will reduce if they have an ear that listens to them. It is not all about being asked for money.

If the MCAs and their constituents were to work on this understanding, then the spirit of good governance and representation would truly begin to bear fruit.

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