Recently, Tanariver Governor Rtd Major Godhana warned a local NGO against what he termed as political involvement warning of dire consequences including revoking the license of the said NGO and freeze its operations in the county.
Pokomo magazine has followed up on the debate concerning the said NGO, the bone of contention being that the NGO has been working without involving or recognising the County leadership. To be specific the Kenya Humanitarian and Charitable Organization has been accused of using the development projects in Galole Sub County for political mileage something the NGO has denied.
Our Magazine has researched on the subject and wishes to enlighten our readers on the modus operandi of NGO’s in Kenya.
Legally an NGO
“means a private voluntary grouping
of individuals or associations, not operated for profit or for other commercial
purposes but which have organized themselves nationally or internationally
for the benefit of the public at large and for the promotion of social welfare,
development charity or research in the areas inclusive of, but not restricted to,
health, relief, agriculture, education, industry and the supply of amenities and
The word “Government” has been used to denote that NGO’s operate like a Government. They don’t work under the supervision, control or oversight of either the National Government or
County Government. That it is why they are referred to as
Non Government Organizations. They are not answerable to any leader in a County. Once they are registered and recognized by the Government they have the mandate to operate
So who supervises NGO’s in Kenya?
There is an Act of Parliament known as the “Non Governmental Organizations Coordination Act” (Cap 19) of 1990. The Act created the Coordination mechanisms for NGO’s under the Non Governmental Coordination Board which has the responsibility of regulating and enabling the NGO sector in Kenya.
Specifically the Board
1.maintains the register of National and International NGOs operating in Kenya, with the precise sectors, affiliations and locations of their activities.
- Receives and discuss the annual reports of NGOs.
- Advises the Government on the activities of the NGO’s and their role in National Development within Kenya.
- Conduct a regular review of the register to determine the
consistency with the reports submitted by the Non-Governmental
Organizations and the Council;
- Provide policy guidelines to the NGO’s
for harmonizing their activities to the national development plan for
- Receives, discuss and approve the regular reports of the Council and to advise on strategies for efficient planning and coordination of
the activities of the NGO’s in Kenya; and
- Develop and publish a code of conduct for the regulation of the
NGO’s and their activities in Kenya
Under section 23 the Act established a Council known as the “Non Governmental
Organizations Council” which is a collective forum of all Non-Governmental
Organizations registered under this Act.
In each County there exists forums known as County Steering Groups (CSG) chaired by the County Commissioner. All NGO’s operating in the Countywide are members of the Group. The County Government is part of the Group. This Forum coordinates the activities of all NGO’s at the County level and provides an opportunity for the members to discuss their operations and share reports.
According to our research there is no law that requires an NGO to report to County leaders or get permission from them to do projects. However, as a matter of courtesy the NGO will consult with the the County leaders, but this does not make the NGO subordinate. The County leadership has no law permitting them to suspend, ban or remove an NGO from the County. Complaints against an NGO should be put in writing and submit a formal complaint to the NGO Council or the Board to investigate and take appropriate action. Action will be taken only if the NGO has breached the Code of Conduct. The burden of proof is with the complainant.