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History of Kituo cha Katiba

Introduction:

The emergence of Kituo cha Katiba (KcK) in 1997 was a logical embodiment of an historic opportunity for the peoples of Eastern Africa to reshape their social contract with their governments. Since the opening up of political space for democratisation in Eastern Africa and Africa as a whole, the people have progressively, though painstakingly, been empowered to hold their governments accountable and have their aspirations, welfare needs and other rights promoted and protected.

The founder members of KcK having recognised that an emerging culture of constitutionalism requires an organisational apparatus and strategic focus in order to make practical progress, commissioned consultations by Center for Basic Research (CBR) that targeted diverse respondents in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The process brought to the fore the imperative for promoting the active participation of civil society in good governance and democratic development and in the process ingrain a culture of constitutionalism. It is around these guiding principles that strategic interventions were framed by KcK. Additionally, the 1999 East African Treaty establishing the East African Community confirmed KcK’s relevance as a regional body focusing on research, documentation, networking and advocacy on constitutionalism, good governance and democratic development.

Inaugural Kituo cha Katiba Strategic Objectives:

  • Advance the science, processes and art of constitution making, constitutionalism and democratic governance through basic, comparative and applied research.
  • Commission state-of-the-art studies on various dimensions of constitution making, constitutionalism and democratic governance in the region.
  • Promotethe values and an ethos of constitutionalism and gender equality and equity throughout the East African region.
  • Highlight and address the plight of disadvantaged social, cultural, economic and political groups in the region, including minorities, refugees and people with disabilities.
  • Collect and compile the testimonies of prominent East Africans intricately involved in the processes of constitutional evolution and development in the region and to foster the contribution of grassroots operatives to these processes.
  • Host an annual lecture by a prominent East African on constitutionalism and constitutional development in East Africa, and to widely disseminate the text of the lecture though out the region and beyond.
  • Undertake information collection, data banking, archiving, publication and dissemination through the mechanism of seminars, workshops and conferences, and to promote the use of new forms of media and electronic technology in fostering public debate and dialogue.
  • Create and maintain a directory of individuals and institutions committed to the ideals of constitutionalism and democratic governance.
  • Encourage, support and facilitate the reform of school and university curricula incorporating aspects relating to constitution making, constitutionalism and democratic governance.
  • Act as a regional watchdog for the protection, promotion and enhancement of constitution making, constitutionalism and democratic governance.

INAUGURAL MEMBERS AND KcK SECRETARIAT OF 1997-1999:

INAUGURAL SECRETARIAT:

  • Ms. Harriet Busingye - Executive Director

  • Ms. Damalie Nakate – Youth Officer

  • Ms. Margaret Kalule – Secretary

  • Mr. W. Nsubuga -  Accountant

  • Ms. Ann Nakonde – Asst. Accountant

  • Mr. Matovu – Driver

FOUNDING MEMBERS;

  • Hon. Lady Justice Solomy B. Bossa, Uganda.

  • Dr. Willy Mutunga, Kenya.

  • Prof. Chris Maina Peter, Tanzania.

  • Fr. John Mary Waliggo, Uganda.

  • Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, Kenya.

  • Prof. J. Oloka-Onyango, Uganda.

FORMER BOARD MEMBERS;

  • Mr. Robert Turyahebwa

  • Dr. Tulia Ackson

  • Ms. Peace Uwineza

  • Mr. Ezra Mbogori

  • Prof. Gervais Gatunange

  • Hon. Sarah Bagalaaliwo

  • Ms. Jane Nabunnya.

  • Prof. Winne Mittula.

  • Mr. Evod Mmanda.

  • Ms. Lyn Muthoni Wanyeki.

  • Ms. Betty Kaari Murungi.

  • Prof. Kivutha Kibwana.

  • Prof. Chris Maina Peter.

  • Fr. John Mary Waliggo (R.I.P).

  • Mr. Lawrence Mute.

  • Prof. J. Ololoka-Onyango.

  • Hon. Lady Justice Solomy B. Bossa.

FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS;

  • Ms. Judy Kamanyi.

  • Ms. Maria Nassali.

  • Ms. Harriet Busingye.

These were some of the inaugral programmes.

The Youth

The Youth were mobilised with the aim of promoting  national and regional youth initiatives that build and enhance democratic leadership and values and to  widen understanding and generate consensus on constitutional issues of interest to young people. A workshop was held in Kenya in March 2002 in collaboration with the National Youth Movement. The Youth Conference on Governance and Democratic Practice took place in Mombasa with the collaboration of the  the East African Youth Council, (EAYCO). The goal of the conference was to empower youth with leadership and management skills with the aim of enhancing their democratic practice. The forum drew a dynamic group of youth within the region including leaders of EAYCO, NGOs, Parliament, Government, internship students and several youths vying for parliamentary seats in the 2002 elections. This enriched the discussions and generated a diversity of views. The youth contributed to the development of a resource material suited to their needs, perceptions, values, that shall be used as a point of reference in disseminating the acquired knowledge to their peers.

Gender

KcK particularly targeted women and the youth  as marginalised groups in constitutional development within the region. In 2001, KcK  undertook  empirical research on Gender and Employment to make a case for the establishment of the Equal Opportunities Commission in Uganda, which is the only constitutionally- provided Commission that has hitherto not been established.  It is hoped that the empirical data shall enhance constitutional activism as an advocacy tool. In Tanzania, KcK reviewed the constitution and evaluated the extent to which the government had  honoured its obligations in realising the vision for a free and equal society, as a recognised development goal. KcK held workshops in collaboration with stakeholders sharing similar objectives, namely the Institute of Development Studies (IDS)  in Tanzania, and the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) and the EAYCO. In all these fora KcK mobilised participants from  a multi-disciplinary background.

KCK's Gender and Constitutionalism project was founded on the premise that despite women's critical importance to the continent's survival, they continue to be marginalised. The goal of the project was to widen the capacity of gender activists and sympathisers to appreciate gender equality as a critical framework and ideological tool for development, good governance, progressive constitutionalism and social change.

Training

1.   Leadership Training

Kituo cha Katiba in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in United Kingdom  is coordinated a program for the leadership training of women lawyers in East Africa. The fellowship program was a joint initiative of Dr. Tade Aina and Dr. Joseph Gitari of The Ford Foundation Nairobi, and  Prof. Julius Ihonvbere of  The Ford Foundation New York. The program aimed at  widening the capacity to use law as an instrument for the promotion of human rights, democratisation, and social change. Further more, the program sought to  promote more interaction and solidarity among the  three women lawyers’ associations; FIDA (Uganda), FIDA (Kenya) and TWLA  on one part  and Kituo cha Katiba and CDD as advocacy centers on the other.

The program further aimed at taking advantage of the  emancipation agenda that calls for the  representation of women in decision  making. It is acknowledged that participation of women in vast numbers  may not change the  nature of the democratic function  from that  of a patriarchal  model to one based on egalitarianism, where there is no  change nor questioning of the  ideological framework. In addition, the lack of comprehensive information has been used as a pretext to constrain the participation of women lawyers in vying for government leadership positions. Many women lawyers are reluctant to join the field of politics, which is dominated by men. Therefore the program aimed to facilitate women in East Africa to  join the debate in order to influence thoughts and practice of policy makers, by redefining  political participation.

The following were the specific objectives :

Promote the professional and intellectual growth of the three associations to utilise the constitution in achieving gender parity, in instituting cases of public litigation and the provision of appropriate legal counsel.

  • To develop African women jurisprudence and voices in human rights and democratic studies, as well as lay a foundation for challenging the existing ideological framework upon which patriarchal political participation is based.
  • To research and assist in analysing the critical constitutional  questions that  involve gender and engage the policy arena in  the analytical debate.
  • To provide engendered empirical and analytical data, grounded in African experiences as a lobby tool for engendering the political content and process.

In the year 2000, six women lawyers enrolled  for the program at the Universities of Sussex and Leeds in the United Kingdom, namely  : Ms. Vum  Ligate, Ms. Enid Nambuya,  Ms.  Beatrice Ngozi, Ms. Lillian Keene, Ms. Robina Namusisi and Ms.  Miriam Namutebi.

2.  Training in Democratic Governance

Kituo cha Katiba initiated its program on Non-profit governance in East Africa targeting sixteen decision makers identified by the Ford Foundation. The aim of the training was to strengthen the democratic and effective governance of the Non-profit sector as a means of increasing its moral authority and act as a check and balance to government. This training aimed to address a real gap of the existing dearth of training materials and professional guidance in non-profit governance in East Africa. Many of the leaders learn on the job with the resultant wastage of time, resources and avoidable conflicts. The success of this program was illuminated in the external evaluation report of the organisation. Particularly, the training was appreciated as a strategic and direct intervention of Kituo cha Katiba, as a complimentary partner of civil society organisation in facilitating democratic practice with the resultant improved productivity of their organisations.