One of the functions of the reorganised APRM Kenya Secretariat is to promote Kenya’s effective participation in the activities of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the domestication of the African Union (AU) mission, principles and values.
This is according to Mr Peter Kimemia, Kenya APRM/Nepad Secretariat who presented the Kenya experience yesterday at the APRM High-Level Brainstorming Session taking place in Irene/Pretoria.
He said the reorganised APRM Kenyan Secretariat is also expected to sustain the integrity of the APRM process, keeping it transparent, inclusive and accountable to the citizens of Kenya.
“Other functions of the Kenyan Secretariat is to promote Kenya’s effective participation in the activities of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the domestication of the African Union (AU) Mission, Core Principles and Values.
“The Secretariat also provide leadership, guidance and direction to the implementation of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in Kenya and transmit the APRM review/progress reports to the APR Panel of Eminent Persons, the Head of State, and any other relevant national and African Union organs as specified by the APRM rules.
He said the Secretariat monitor and report on the progress in the implementation of the APRM National Programme of Action.
According to Mr Kimemia, Kenya is also serving as the Regional NEPAD/APRM co-ordinator for the Eastern African countries.
He said they also assist with the co-ordination of NEPAD activities in the Eastern African Region and liaison with the Continental NEPAD secretariat office with a view of incorporating and promoting Kenya’s and Eastern African region interests in NEPAD.
“We design, develop and implement necessary measures to identify and address governance issues affecting Kenya’s performance in national, regional and global governance surveys and indices.
“We provide guidance for structured engagement with local and international agencies undertaking and disseminating reviews on Kenya’s governance to ensure accuracy of facts and fidelity to best-practices on objective reporting,” he said.
Functions of the National Governing Council (NGC) in Kenya
- The NGC seeks policy guidance and direction from the NEPAD/APRM Focal Point, the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning.
- The NGC holds quarterly meetings and such additional meetings in such places and at such times as the council considers necessary for the proper discharge of its functions.
- The council carries out studies or research as may inform the activities of the NEPAD and the APRM in Kenya.
- The NGC has powers for the proper execution of its mandate, including the power to regulate its procedures.
OFFICE OF THE FOCAL POINT
MR Kimemia told the gathering that APRM Kenya Secretariat is a Semi-Autonomous Government Agency (SAGA) domiciled under the National Treasury and Planning, meaning that the Focal Point is the Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury and Planning.
“In the local context, the Focal Point acts as the link between the NGC and the President. The NGC does not have a direct linkage to the President.
“Therefore, the efficiency or lack thereof of the NGC is almost inextricably bound to the efficiency of the Cabinet Secretary and even much more on the efficiency of the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Planning,” he said.
According to Mr Kimemia, some of the challenges faced by the Kenyan APRM Secretariat are insufficient funding, role confusion- where some members might want to double in operational matters that are the domain of the Secretariat, bureaucracy that hinders freer communication between the NGC and the President, capacity issues among some of the appointees – engaging with streetwise government representatives and Inappropriate pressure from government representation in the NGC – stalling on the more progressive ideas that would otherwise lead to more significant governance improvements.
Best Practices in Setting up National Structures
A unified administrative structure for NEPAD and APRM at the National level helps save costs but it has its own challenges if the two programmes are not adequately funded to execute their respective mandates.
A lean NGC carefully selected for representativeness and competence can be appropriately effective – it is not cost-efficient to have a huge NGC…sometimes larger than the size of the Cabinet.
Government representation within the NGC should ideally not exceed 30% if the contemplated autonomy has to play out. A government-heavy NGC can undermine the integrity of reviews and overall promotion of good governance especially in cases where regimes might be hostile to certain progressive reforms.