The Nairobi City County Government has proposed to establish a legal framework for the engagement, promotion and facilitation of community and neighborhood associations through the enactment of the Nairobi City County Community and Neighborhood Associations Engagement law. The law is geared towards enhancing cooperation and support in the delivery of services.
The main objectives of the Act are to:
(i) Enhance public participation in the decision making by the County Government especially with regard to service delivery and thus give effect to Article 10 of the constitution;
(ii) Recognize and facilitate community and neighborhood initiatives in complementing County Government Services, including in security, waste management, water and sanitation;
(iii) Establish a recognition framework for the community and neighborhood associations;
(iv) Provide for the competencies and responsibilities of the neighborhood initiatives and associations;
(v) Strengthen capacities of associations to enforce regulations aimed at enhancing service provision.
The bill further states that the objectives for which a neighborhood association may be established shall include the co-operation of the residents in the following:
(a) Protection, generally of the environment and investments and the promotion of the integrity of their environment and investm3ents;
(b) Provision and maintenance of basic policing services and support to policing services in the maintenance of neighborhood security;
(c) Maintenance of such common facilities in the neighborhood as may be necessary for the furtherance of special services or recreational purposes;
(d) Sharing of information between the residents and the County Government and its various institutions on matters affecting the residents and their environment and investment;
(e) Collaboration in the provision of services including establishment and maintenance of early childhood education centers, water, solid waste collection and disposal;
(f) Mobilization of the membership for purposes of engagement in County Government initiatives and for the furtherance of matters of common interest;
(g) Promotion of recreational activities and facilities, including sports and art.
To be eligible to enter recognition agreement with the County Government, the bill states that the neighborhood association should be
(a) registered as an association under the National Societies Act and should have demonstrated compliance with the relevant national and County legistlation relating to registration, regulatory and other requirements;
(b) comprises a minimum number of twenty members;
(c) Has, as its objects, functions that complement and demonstrate the spirit of corporation between the members or between the association and the County Government for the performance of the functions of the County Government;
(d) Demonstrates that it is complying to its objectives and serving interests of its members’
(e) Where the membership of the associations is based on domicile in any locality or zone, demonstrates that it has in its membership at least fifty one per cent of the residents and property owners in the locality or zone in respect of which it is seeking recognition.
Over the years, the residents of Nairobi have organized themselves into neighborhood or residents associations for their common good to ensure garbage collection and generally to ensure the availability and maintenance of the value of their investments and property. The first ever such association was the Nairobi Resident’s Committee during the infant stages of the city which was transformed to Nairobi Resident’s Association and later the Nairobi Town Committee during the colonial era.
However, despite these interventions by citizens directly in service and, sometimes, infrastructure provision, the authorities have not recognized nor rewarded such initiatives even where that such residents have continued to pay the respective service charges to the government.
The bill seeks to ensure an arrangement for recognition of these initiatives; their regulation and their engagement with the county government on the issues that have to do with their objectives as residents associations. This will enable the County Government not only entrench the principle of participation of the people as required by Article 10 of the Constitution but will also enable the regulation of the activities of these associations so that there is an understanding of the expectations and incentives that are intended for them.
It is under this background of a historical engagement with the residents that Nairobi City County Government Governor, Evans Kidero pointed out the significant role the associations continue to play to ensure that residents receive prompt service from the County Government.
Recently, during a round table meeting with Business Membership Organizations officials , the Governor said, “ The Nairobi City County Community and Neighborhood Associations Engagement Bill, 2015 will indeed create a level playing platform in which the resident’s associations and the County Government will engage with the utmost purpose of enhancing service delivery to our people.”