[kictanet] Civil Society Roles (activities, motives & challenges) Day 4 of 10

Brian Munyao Longwe brian at caret.net
Fri May 23 09:02:33 EAT 2008

On May 22, 2008, at 8:16 PM, Leonard Mware wrote:
> Lastly, we have another category of Civil Society (that includes  
> KICTANET) involved in policy advocacy rather than implementation.  
> Which of the two in your view is more relevant? the "implementing"  
> civil society (less talk) or the "policy advocacy" civil society.  
> It is said some countries are so efficient in churning out policy  
> documents but very little is taking place on the ground. It also  
> said that some Civil Societies in the name of advocacy hinder  
> developement by over "advocating" issues such as environment and  
> human rights.
> I want to suggest to the forum that Kicatenet should now come out  
> strongly advocating for the implementation of the policies that it  
> has helped nurture in Kenya.

Admittedly - certain Civil Societies get so caught up in talking that  
they either forget their is a 'doing' part or are caught completely  
off-balance when their demands/wishes are met and they are now  
invited to take action.

I would venture to suggest that we have experienced a little bit of  
this in KICTANET and will use the Kenya ICT Policy and subsequent  
attempted drafting of an ICT bill as an example.

Firstly the push and subsequent follow through on the ICT Policy from  
KICTANET was excellent and working as an MSP we rallied together  
Civil society, govt, private sector, academia, media etc... and  
produced a first class, first-time policy for the country and then  
saw it through approval and adoption by the Cabinet.

We, however, seemed to have slipped and slided a little bit when the  
draft ICT Bill came to light. We were not very coherent in designing  
an intervention that would guide the process and instead reacted  
rather than responding to the opportunity. Fortunately it was not  
KICTANET alone, but almost all ICT stakeholders who were caught off- 
balance when the call came to provide input into the draft Bill. Such  
was the subsequent flurry of disconnected activity and inputs that  
the original draft didn't really change much and was so rough that  
when it went before Parliament it was thrown back to the drafters.

So, we now have an opportunity to prepare ourselves. We know that it  
is not possible to address all the issues in the ICT sector with one  
Bill/Act. We now that there is a need for a certain level of  
detailed, specific Acts that will deal with far ranging issues such  
as electronic transactions, digital security and encryption as well  
as modifications of existing laws to incorporate ICT related issues  
such as admission of electronic evidence, cross-border issues with  
computer-based/aided crimes etc....

Are we ready yet?


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