ENHANCING DEVOLUTION

Take public participation to villages, counties told

Most public participation forums like the budget making process are held in towns

In Summary
  • County governments urged to emulate Makueni which holds public participation forums at grassroots level
  • NGO says stakeholders in North Rift counties complain of limited participation
A Nairobi resident at Charter Hall during a public participation forum
GET MY POINT? A Nairobi resident at Charter Hall during a public participation forum
Image: FILE

County governments in the North Rift have been urged to decentralize public participation to village level to capture more policy input from residents.

Most public participation forums like the budget making process are held in urban areas, limiting the number of participants who give their input, a civil society organisation said.

“We want these county governments to emulate the county government of Makueni which holds their public participation forums at grassroots level,” Shem Wachira said in Kitale.

He is the capacity development coordinator at Urban Development Platform. Wachira spoke at a stakeholders' forum that brought together civil society, Jua Kali sector, youth, women's groups and representatives from the county assembly of Trans Nzoia.

Wachira noted their engagements with stakeholders within counties in the region have been dominated with complaints of limited participation.

“Access to information is also a challenge with most locals taking issue with the decision by most county governments to advertise public forums via local dailies yet many of them don’t read newspapers,” he said.

Officials of the Justice and Peace Centre which operates in Trans Nzoia and West Pokot counties said there was a need for county governments to open up all avenues for access to information.

“The Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to access public information. The county government must utilize the convenient channels to disseminate the information,” said JPC’s programmes officer George Okinyi.

Trans Nzoia Women Caucus director Immaculate Shamala called for consideration of all views of participants who take part during public forums to ensure decisions reached are popular.

“We wish to have a situation where the citizens generate development ideas as opposed to them being used as mere rubber stamps for the mere sake of formality,” Shamala said.

The Kitale Bus terminus which is under construction
The Kitale Bus terminus which is under construction
Image: NICHOLAS WAMALWA