Devolution Working Paper 1: Building Public Participation In Kenyas Devolved Government

It appears you do not have PDF support in this web browser. Click here to download the document.

Publisher World Bank Centre for Devolution Studies (CDS) Kenya School of Government (KSG)
Year of Publication 2015
Category Report
County All/General
Description OBJECTIVE: This paper summarizes findings and analysis from five working papers & case studies reviewing opportunities and challenges for strengthening public participation in Kenyas newly decentralized system. It provides a consolidated list of recommendations emerging from all the working papers.

Executive Summary:
Kenya has embarked on a highly ambitious decentralization that seeks to fundamentally change the relationship between government and citizens under the 2010 Constitution. The Constitution seeks to shift government from centralized to decentralized, and from top-down to bottom-up. Among many
reforms, devolution is arguably the most significant. Many countriesboth rich and poorhave transferred power and resources to lower levels of government. Few have done so to entirely new subnational units, or done so in the first year of their existence.

The Constitution and new legal framework place a strong emphasis on strengthening public participation. Strengthening public participation and governance is a core element in Kenyas strategy to accelerate growth and address long-standing inequalities in economic opportunities, investment, and service delivery in different parts of the country. Multiple studies have documented links between persistent poverty/inequality and governance weaknesses that reduce the efficiency and equity of public investments and services, impede the investment climate, and undermine job creation.

Global experience with decentralization bears out the Constitutions emphasis on governance, transparency and participation. Contrary to common expectations that devolution will improve service delivery, governance factors (such as elite capture, clientelism, capacity constraints, competition over power between levels of government, and weaknesses in performance monitoring) often undermine expected performance and accountability gains from decentralization. Global experience indicates that effective decentralization depends on balancing increased discretion of local governments with increased accountabilityboth upwards and downwards.

?Kenya has a good foundation to strengthen participation in both national and county governments. The space for citizen-state interaction continues to expand, the government and civil society have gained significant experience deploying participatory tools and approaches, the media is relatively free and outspoken and Kenyas role as a regional ICT innovator, and one of the first major open government data portals in sub-Saharan Africa, is widely recognized.

As they simultaneously deliver services and build new institutions, counties are seeking to establish effective means to engage the public. To respond to this demand, the working papers distill practical findings and lessons regarding devolution and participation, based on extensive research conducted over the past two years on public participation, social accountability, and devolution in Kenya.
Tags a54b4e9f0bca6dca792ff330f0a968a4, Counties / General


Social Media



Get In Touch

Kaya I/O,
Statehouse Road
Hillcrest Building, Next to Philippines Embassy
P.O. Box 76203 – 00508 Nairobi, Kenya

Social Media

Sign up with your email to get updates on data resources uploaded.