Kenya news

President announces operationalisation of Public Benefits Organisations Act

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President William Ruto says a law enacted more than a decade ago to govern civil society organisations has now been operationalised.

The President said the execution of the legal instrument to make the Public Benefits Organisations Act operational, demonstrates the government’s commitment to forging a strong partnership with civil society.

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“Civil society has a role to play in the development of our country. We may not necessarily always agree, but that is the beauty of having diverse opinions,” he added.

President Ruto pointed out that the Act has consolidated all legislations governing civil society organisations into one predictable legal regime.

“We have made it possible for Public Benefit Organisations from outside Kenya not to be taken through unnecessary vigorous processes before they begin their operations in Kenya,” he said.

The President spoke at the closing session of the United Nations Civil Society Conference, which began on Wednesday and concluded on Friday at the United Nations Office in Nairobi.

He said strengthening civil society is part of the government’s effort to build an all-of-society coalition that brings together government, the opposition, NGOs religious institutions and other groups.

He said this was the surest way of addressing exclusion and marginalisation that promote poverty and inequality.

President Ruto explained that the government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda identifies development as an inclusive and collective endeavour.

“It is not a special and exclusive project of the Executive or the public sector defined by narrow objectives or interests,” he said.

He noted that civil society plays a critical role in shaping policies, driving change and keeping governments in check and called for the empowerment of the youth to enable them to make their contribution to the nation’s development.

“It is our responsibility to meaningfully involve them in shaping the future by consistently taking deliberate steps to dismantle barriers hindering their participation in political and public life,” he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said civil society has played a critical role in enhancing democracy and governance and acted as a bridge between people and their representatives.

He called on the civil society to play an even greater role in international politics and the governance of international institutions.

“This is the key to rebuilding trust, restoring legitimacy and ensuring international decisions are shaped by the concerns, values and the experiences of the people across the globe,” he said.

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