Kenya Workshop: The Eastern Africa Association of Public Accounts Committees (EAAPAC)
SUNY/CID NEWS STORIES 2004
From February 20 to 22, 2004, in Mombasa, Kenya, SUNY/Kenya, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly of Kenya, and the East African Parliamentary Institute (EAPI) jointly conducted a "Best Practices" workshop for public accounts committees in Eastern Africa. Funded by USAID, the Ford Foundation, and the participating parliaments, more than 50 parliamentarians, auditors general, representatives from civil society, representatives of SUNY and the World Bank Institute, and parliamentary staff from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan worked together on finding methods of improving executive oversight. Participants described several challenges faced by parliaments in conducting effective oversight, and discussed innovative approaches from within and outside the region to improve their performance. Conference speakers included Deputy Speaker David Musila and Clerk Sam Ndindiri of Kenya; MPs and/or auditors general from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya; leaders of Kenyan CSOs; Rick Stapenhurst, Director of the World Bank Institute; and John Johnson and Jesse Biddle of SUNY/CID.
Among several positive results of the conference two are especially important. The first is the agreement by all the assembled MPs to create an Eastern Africa Association of Public Accounts Committees (EAAPAC). Second is the adoption of several specific recommendations for improving parliamentary oversight in Eastern Africa. These include making auditors general independent of the executive (many auditors general are hired by, and report to those they audit), lengthening terms for PAC chairs and members (some have terms as brief as one year, which does not allow them to develop sufficient expertise to challenge executives), and establishing implementation committees to ensure that the government follows up on PAC recommendations. Since conducting the workshop SUNY/Kenya has already helped prepare a draft Association constitution, and PAC chairs from the region were to meet in Nairobi in April 2004 to adopt a constitution and a workplan for the EAAPAC for the year.