The Kenyan Constitution and legal framework on devolution places sovereign power on the people of Kenya. This power that has been delegated to state actors at the national and county level. In exercising its powers and performing any of its fourteen (14) functions, each county government should ensure efficiency, effectiveness, inclusivity, and participation of the people in planning, budgeting, and; monitoring and evaluation of service delivery.
Over the last six years, County Governments have focused on operationalising the provisions of the Constitution and supportive legal framework on transparency and public participation into practical and effective mechanisms. Counties have made considerable progress in implementing the legal and regulatory frameworks but with varied success and significant challenges.
The need to continuously improve performance in service delivery is a constant factor for each county government , in order to ensure value for money to citizens. Public participation is a key ingredient in performance and all the 47 counties have diverse experience in facilitating public participation over the first term of County governments (2013-2017).
However, the need to improve public participation in counties has been underscored by key devolution stakeholder's forums including the annual devolution conferences and a governance summit on public participation that was held in February 2018.
- The 1st Annual Devolution Conference 2014 resolved:
- THAT the conference reaffirmed the enhancement of civic education and public engagement to ensure full implementation of devolution and forestall opportunities for unjustified claw-backs
- THAT the conference urges the expedited approval of programmes that support community development. That all levels of government should respect the principles of public participation in the design of policies, legislation and programmes in support of community development.
- The 2nd Annual Devolution Conference 2015 resolved: THAT the role of public participation in governance and budget making shall be enhanced and the funding gap on public participation addressed.
- Third Annual Devolution conference 2016, which resolved: THAT County Government frameworks for civic education and public participation should be aligned with the national government framework for civic education and public participation.
- The 4th Annual Devolution Conference 2017 resolved: THAT county governments should deepen mechanisms for public participation in county planning processes.
- The 5th Annual Devolution Conference 2018 resolved: THAT Counties shall adopt effective public participation approaches that genuinely engage the citizens in determining development priorities.
- A leadership and governance summit held in February 2018 resolved: THAT both levels of government shall ensure increased Participation and Representation of Women, Youth and Persons Living with Disabilities in All Levels of Leadership.
In addition, effective engagement of citizens is also an important factor for the successful realization of the Big 4 Agenda that is spearheaded by the Presidency, and whose implementation will be done by the Counties.
It is against this backdrop, this discussion forum seeks your views on public participation and how the challenges so far can be made better. The feedback will be summarized and presented during the Governors' Peer to Peer Learning Mission to be held in Makueni County on 6th August 2018.
Protocol for participation in the COG-Maarifa Centre Community of Practice (COP) Forum
In acknowledging that the invited members will contribute new ideas, perspectives and recommendations for action, we urge individual members to adhere to the following minimum ground rules for participation:
- Stick to the theme and specific question.
- Use professional/Respectful language. (Do not use unethical language)
- Be factual, do not post perceptions, unless a specific question demands as such.
- Give ideas that can lead to concrete action, policy change and examples that can stimulate learning by Counties
- Feel free to recommend an individual who can contribute, by sharing his/her name and email address.