Citizen Participation

Where is Citizen Participation and involvement in the drafting legislative documents in Kenya?

The Constitution of Kenya, Chapter 8, Part 5 Article 118 states that ‘Parliament shall facilitate public participation and involvement in the legislative and other businesses of Parliament and its committees’ Further, the 4th schedule, Part 2, states that ‘county governments are supposed to ensure and coordinate the participation of communities and locations to develop the administrative capacity for the effective exercise of the functions and powers and participation in governance at local level.The aforementioned require that public participation and involvement is part of the processes of making any legislation that affect the lives the public in Kenya.

Nyeri County is located in the Central areas of Kenya, covering about 9 districts. In 2010, an overwhelming majority of the people in the region voted for the Constitution, with the opinions of most being influenced by opinion leaders such as political leaders, members of parliament and church leaders. When visiting the area last week during a community dialogue forum organised by HERAF, the wide gaps between passing the Constitution, understanding its implications and participating in its implementation being clear than ever, with the dialogue forums serving as a learning ground for representatives from the ministry of health who had accompanied HERAf staff on the forum to discuss the proposed Health Bill that is part of the implementation of the Constitution in the health sector in Kenya.

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