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Kenya; NGOs criticised as paper on their control is passed

The Nation

July 14, 2006.

NGOs came under attack as the House debated and passed a sessional paper to regulate their operations.

Most members accused them of operating in a mysterious and non-transparent manner yet they handled millions of shillings for poverty reduction.

The Sessional Paper No 1 is derived from the NGOs' phenomenal growth. But they have been beset by problems, including internal wrangling, misappropriation of funds, lack of transparency, accountability and a legal framework.

The policy paper, developed by the Ministry of National Heritage, aims at making them more efficient, effective and transparent as it recognises their vital role.

Foreign Affairs assistant minister Moses Wetang'ula said most NGOs had deviated from their role of helping the Government to fight poverty and were now a money-minting business.

They had become avenues of easy money for unscrupulous people with the right connections, while the people they purported to help continued to wallow in poverty, he said.

But Mr Abdul Bahari (Isiolo South, Kanu) said some were doing a good job.

Mr Nicholas Biwott (Kerio South, Kanu) accused them of using vague terms like "capacity-building" to justify the use of donor funds.Vice-President Moody Awori said a good number of the more than 4,000 NGOs were not interested in the improving the people's welfare.Mr Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache, Ford People) accused them of concentrating on activities meant only to benefit those behind them.

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