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Mzalendo means “Patriot” in Swahili. We are driven and inspired by the COK, 2010 and the need to defend and advance the principles of public participation, openness, inclusion and accountability that are at its core. The principles are variously provided for in the COK, 2010.
“Parliament shall (a) conduct its business in an open manner, and its sittings and those of its committees shall be in public; and (b) facilitate public participation and involvement in the legislative and other business of Parliament and its committees”. (Art. 118 (1))
“A County Assembly shall (a) conduct its business in an open manner and hold its sittings and those of its committees in public; (b) facilitate public participation and involvement in the legislative and other business of the Assembly and its committees.” (Art. 196 (1))
“The electoral system shall comply with the following principles: (a) freedom of citizens to exercise their political rights under Article 38; (b) not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender; (c) fair representation of persons with disabilities.” (Art. 81)
“Parliament shall enact legislation to promote the representation in Parliament of (a) women;(b) persons with disabilities; (c) youth; (d) ethnic and other minorities; and (e) marginalised communities.” (Art. 100)
“The State shall take legislative and other measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender.” (Art 27(8))
“All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and shall be exercised only in accordance with this Constitution” (Art. 1(1))
“The People may exercise their sovereign power either directly or through their democratically elected representatives” (Art. 1(2))
“The national values and principles of governance include-patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law, democracy and participation of the people” (Art. 10 (2)).
“The legislative authority of the Republic is derived from the people and, at the national level, is vested in and exercised by Parliament” (Art. 94 (1))
“Every person has a right to petition Parliament to consider any matter within its authority, including to enact, amend or repeal any legislation” (Art. 119 (1))
In 2005, Mzalendo was launched as a blog. Later on after the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution, Mzalendo re-launched as a comprehensive parliamentary information website. In 2013, “Mzalendo Trust '' was set up as a legal entity in Kenya. In the same year, we had an opportunity to have our debut parliamentary scorecard and the following year (2014) we launched an annual People’s Shujaaz Awards. In our endeavor to promote public participation, in 2017, we launched the Dokeza platform to crowdsource public input in draft legislation which are under public participation. To deepen evidence based programmes, in 2019 we had pioneering launches of Reports on Participation of Youth and Women in the 11th and 12th Parliaments. The following year of 2020, Mzalendo expanded the scope of work to include political parties and regional parliamentary monitoring organizations and enhanced Dokeza’s capacity. Currently, Mzalendo has assumed a bigger role within the OGP Space and we have now begun implementing a new five-year strategy.
We want a country and region where political, civic actors and citizens actively collaborate, influence each other, and meaningfully participate in legislative and political processes. We want to see both national and local levels of government following this path, also leveraging technology where possible, so as to strengthen avenues for transparency, participation, inclusion and accountability. We believe that this will ultimately lead to more effective and responsive legislation and political processes that foster Kenya’s development goals.
Mzalendo promotes open, inclusive, and accountable Parliaments in Kenya and Africa.
Our programmatic work and operations are guided by the following values:
We promote and practice transparency in our work as a necessary pre-condition to participation and accountability, including accountability to citizens, to our partners and, within Mzalendo, to one another.
Love for country and its people compels us to proactively engage our leaders and all Kenyans regardless of tribe, class and creed.
Adherence to rule of law is in-built into our activities and is an expectation we encourage the public to embrace and expect of their leaders for greater accountability and transparency.
Mzalendo Trust seeks partnerships with other organisations based on mutual respect and learning, shared purpose and values, and collective responsibility for outcomes.
We are committed to leveraging technology to open up Parliamentary information and to amplify the voices of citizens and particularly those of women, youth and PwD.
We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse institution which dissuades discrimination on any grounds including, inter alia, gender, age, colour, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture or sex.