(i) Need for Technical Information as precedence for Truth, Justice & Peace;
VOW International seeks to initiate and strengthen existing forms of forums and channels of disseminating existing and new technical information from across the disciplines as distinctively as possible, across the four pillars of governance and development as the true technical position of daily public life issues among the people and the country. The current status is that although such information exits, it is hardly consulted. The assumption is that most of the existing information is not necessary but not accessible. It is also unarticulated and so unexploited in full to the benefits of the people and their nation both as consumers and beneficiaries. Technical information gaps or lack of it all together not only breed suspicion, mistrust, antagonism, hatred and rivalry, which are hallmarks of conflict, but also accounts for the weak strategies in past governance and development reform programme implementation.
(ii) Need for National Dialoguing;
VOW International espouses an infinite national journey of dialogue between the people themselves on one hand, and the people and their governors on the other. Part of the dialogue is the actual dissemination of the appropriate technical information pointed to above, and appropriate guidance on the ways and strategies forward. Kenyans hardly have any channels of communication between each other beside the media, and their respective political leaders. Traditional forms of dialogue have been demoted, and the youthful technical ‘Voices of Reason’’ including those of the constructive Elite and the Church, have either been silenced over time by opposed political regimes, or muted by fear of incrimination. Lack of communication in any set-up is a prelude to conflict and failure. Indeed, some of the conflict prone regions are among bordering communities in long rivalry triggered by highly skewed unequal development patterns over long periods of co-existence. Earlier Voices pointing out to such vices were met with incrimination.
(iii) Need for CapacityEnhancement of both Government and Non-State Actors particularly at the National Decision-Making levels;
VOW International recognizes the prevailing assumption, and hence, gap in the perceptions, conceptions and attitudes of the people and their national leaders, on not only the leaders roles in national decision-making on behalf of the people, but more, the capacities entailed of the leaders themselves, in effective decision-making, and making of the right decisions in Parliament, and the consequent entailed interpretations, linkages and delivery of these decisions in form of services to the people they represent at sub-national levels. Given that Non-State Actors mainly work as the Opposition to the State Actors, it becomes impossible to gauge each of the Actor’s capacities to deliver the desired objectives. An emerging potential and opportunity that could be embraced lies in the nature and dynamics of a Coalition Government. Indeed with constructive tact, pro-active efforts to bridge the traditional rivalry of the two Actors, State and Non-State Actors could bear mutual partnerships in strategic planning and implementation. VOW seeks to draw State and Non-State Actors into one drawing table with the State Actors providing the governance and development environment, and the on-State CSO Actors providing the technical input.
(iv) Need for Focus on Specific Gender & Governance Capacity Concerns;
VOW International seeks to embrace, strengthen and uphold new and existing policy and programme functions focused on bridging the historical gender imbalance gaps, particularly, in the political pillar’s national decision-making levels. This is more on increasing women political participation in Parliament, and more, enhancing the capacities of such women leadership. Strategically, current Women Parliamentarians could show-case improved quality of political and other forms of leadership by example, and by their enhancing practical values of Integrity in such leadership. This would strategically begin to restore hope among a largely apathetic electorate towards political leadership as a whole, and help change attitudes that have favoured male political leaders over women leaders even where the former have historically failed to deliver.
An underlying perennial question that has evaded many researchers on gender issues in political leadership is why women who make the bigger number of the electorate will not elect their women folk to such leadership. A deeper question would be to establish whether the women who have previously aspired and upcoming potential aspirants have the leadership capacities entailed in such leadership. Given the violent nature of Kenya’s political processes, many women with the capacities for quality political leadership have kept away. It has been suggested that this explains why majority of the other aspirants tend to fall below the expectations of the electorate who then with no other option, elect the next available male aspirant.
(v) Need for Tracking of Development and Governance Programme Implementation;
VOW International identifies with, and seeks to pro-actively champion initiatives to fill the historical traditional gap of development and governance programme implementation – After Policy: implementation, completion of those already on the ground, and continuity for consistence and sustainability. While certain policy guidelines have been internationally acclaimed as effective tools for ensuring 70% implementation of planned development and governance programmes, in both activity and resources, evidence does suggest that only 30% of planned development and governance programmes are ever implemented, particularly in Africa, and Kenya is included.
Such low performance in service and development reforms is owed to bad governance in Africa, and indeed the catalysts of abject poverty and conflict, a hallmark of African development and governance failed institutions.
(vi) Need for Specific programming on Safety-Nets for the Poorest of the Poor;
VOW International espouses a middle-way as opposed to top-down and bottom-up processes of governance and development processes. While traditionally, many top-down initiatives exist, they have tended to “disappear in the middle” if seen in the linear graphic perceptions of how governance and development processes work from national to sub-national grassroot levels. From the “middle” to the “bottom grassroots”, most initiatives are either lost, or scattered in adhoc implementation patterns. The espoused “bottom-middle-way” initiatives have been more effective as suggested in impact assessment reports of participatory development, but it also emerges that they need to be fully supported from the top. Past success has been extremely minimal or insignificant relative to the objectives and tasks entailed.
VOW International seeks to facilitate in the articulate understanding of these processes, and facilitate their collective recognition, reconstruction, ownership and adoption by national level Non-State and State Actors. Using the Theoretical Framework of the Safety-Nets Concept, VOW International seeks to appropriately guide in the initiation of new strategies focusing specifically on the Poorest of the Poor at the sub-national grassroot levels but directly driven and directly linked to the top national level decision-making fora in both policy and programming. Possible initiatives already shared have received reasonable positive responses from a wide spectrum of stakeholders.
It is among the Poorest of the Poor, that society tends to breed dissidents, rebellion, insecurity and conflicts.
(vii) Need for Promotion & Re-Engineering of Personal and Professional Ethical and Moral Principles of Integrity in Service to, and in Society.
VOW International, in policy and principles of function as a Consortium, promotes Personal and Professional Ethical and Moral Principles of Integrity in Service to, and in Society. The Consortium argues that it is the demotion and relegation of such personal and professional ethical and moral principles of Integrity in Service to, and in Society, that explains the many vices that bring about untruthfulness, and hence injustices and conflicts among the people and in their nations.
The Consortium holds and links the demotion and relegation of personal and professional ethical and moral principles in technical functioning and in society as the attributes to: a decaying or decayed personal and societal moral fibre; corruption; unfair competition; crime; demotion of the principles of truth and justice; demotion of meritocracy for patronage and nepotism; gender imbalances; un-constitutionalism; unacceptable levels of poverty anchored in unequal distribution of national resources; demotion of the rule of law, historical injustices; destructive ethnicity. One of Kenya’s current critical concern is the Youth Agenda due to similar vices in unguided and generational break-down of a nation’s healthy and mature sound youth. While the latter is critical, all these vices lay the sound foundation for internal strife and potential conflicts.
“Come Let Us Reason Together