Do More in Holding State to Account, Obama Tells Civil Society Groups

US President Barack Obama has challenged civil society groups to hold the government to account in ensuring good governance, democracy and accountability.

Obama said the US is faced with the complex challenge of overstepping its mandate or neglecting injustices when dealing with other governments.

“The US used to interfere. Not anymore. When we intervened in the past we used to be accused of interference. When we didn’t we were accused of neglect,”he said.

“Even though there is a legal government which we recognise, we made it clear that if there is an issue, we shall talk to all voices in Kenya.”

He addressed the groups at Kenyatta University on Sunday afternoon, marking the end of his historic three-day tour of his homeland.

Obama said the US will instead encourage combined approaches to dealing with challenges of achieving democracy..

The US government has repeatedly called for states to allow civil society groups to operate freely as they are obligated to hold the state to account in fulfilling its mandate.

Obama urged the state to involve civil society groups in the war against terror saying they are well placed to provide helpful information.

Following the April 2 al Shabaab massacre of 147 people at Garissa University college, the government froze bank accounts of 86 NGOs which it accused of funding terror and sympathising with the militia groups.

Sections of civil society groups termed the move as witch-hunt adding that their operations were legal.