Residents of Marsabit County during a past Public Participation In Budget Planning.Photo by Marsabit Times

What The Constitution Says About Public Participation Amid Referenda Push

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The 2010 Constitution which is citizen- centered in governance requires all state institutions both at the national and county government level to ensure that citizens are involved in decision-making through public participation.

However, full implementation of this constitutional provision remains a challenge since the process is either hijacked by politicians and public officials dictating or imposing on Kenyans their own interests.

This failure to involve citizens has seen protests by Kenyans unhappy with decisions imposed on them or the mushrooming of ghost projects across the 47 counties always revealed in auditor general’s annual reports. Click HERE to understand how to interpret Auditor General Reports.

Currently there is no law to effect the constitutional provisions on public participation by public institutions other than a policy on the requirement developed by the Attorney General’s office in September 2018 for taxpayer-funded bodies to follow.  (https://www.statelaw.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/DOC-20181113-WA0023.doc)

The policy defines public participation as the process where citizens including individuals, groups or communities (stakeholders) get involved in the conduct of public affairs, interact with the state and other non-state actors to influence decisions, policies, programs and laws. Citizenry involvement also seeks to provide oversight in service delivery, development among other matters touching on their governance and public interest directly or through elected leaders.   Read more HERE