The State's real beef with NGOS and why civil society isn't letting up
Even on the verge of succumbing to the growing weight of graft, plunder and anarchy at the top, the Jubilee Government is at war with the civil society. The genesis of this contention is the commencement of the Public Benefit Organisations (PBO) Act 2013. The law creates a PBO Authority – a semi-autonomous body to regulate the civil sector.
In a way, this authority liberates nongovernmental organisations (NGOS) by loosening the current tight grip that the State has on the civil sector. For this reason, the State is against the commencement of the new law.
Since a discrete coup was staged at the NGO Council by the retired President Mwai Kibaki's administration in 2004, the State has been in full control. Before that infiltration, the Council was an influential mouthpiece for NGOS. Through it, the civil society contributed substantially to the birth of plural party politics.
After the State took over the Council, about a hundred NGOS conglomerated into a loose association called the Civil Society Organisations (Sco)–reference Group towards the end of the last decade. Against many odds, the unregistered outfit formulated and pushed for the legislation of PBO Act, 2013. For this, CSO–REFerence Group members are at the centre of the raging battle with Government as they fight for the commencement of the law, three years after Kibaki assented to it.
The new law abolishes the Governmentcontrolled NGO Council and replaces it with the independent, almost foolproof PBO Authority in whose board of management will be a significant presence of Cso-reference Group members.
Determined to retain the status quo, the Jubilee administration has declined to commence the PBO Act as it is. Instead, the State has made several attempts to amend the law to suit its whims. However, each attempt has been met with stiff opposition from all sectors of the economy, including the National Assembly where the Government has a majority vote.
Frustrated, the Government has resorted to what operators of the civil sector term as witch-hunt and outright State terror. Members of the Cso-reference Group believe every negative pronouncement or attack made by the State against the civil sector targets its members directly.
Haki Africa and Muslims for Human