The Citizen Handbook
Fundamentals of Devolution
Units of Devolved Government
Your participation as a citizen is an important part of the devolution process. Clause 85 of The County Governments Act, 2012 lists specific principles that serve as the basis of citizen participation at the county level:
More on Citizen Participation
To learn more about citizen participation in Kenya, please see Section 2.1.5 of this handbook for an overview of different provisions in the Constitution on citizen participation.
· timely access to information related to policy formation and implementation;
· reasonable access to formulating and implementing laws and regulations;
· protect and promote the interest and rights of minorities, marginalized groups and communities (i.e. the youth, women, and persons living with disabilities);
· review decisions or redress grievances with particular emphasis on persons of marginalized communities;
· decision-making between county governments and non-state actors is a balance of shared responsibility, ownership and oversight;
· promote public-private partnerships to encourage direct dialogue and determined action on sustainable development; and
· recognize and promote the valuable role of citizen participation in government facilitation and oversight.
Structures for Citizen Participation
The county governments, according to Clause 91 of The County Governments Act, 2012, are responsible for facilitating the establishment of structures for citizen participation, including:
· information communication technology based platforms;
· town hall meetings;
· budget preparation and validation fora;
· notice boards: announcing jobs, appointments, procurement, awards and other important announcements of public interest;
· development project sites;
· avenues for the participation of peoples' representatives including but not limited to members of the National Assembly and Senate; or
· establishment of citizen fora at county and decentralized units
Citizen Participation in Urban Areas
Clause 22 of The Urban Areas and Cities Act, 2011 outlines certain rights of residents in cities, municipalities and towns. These include the right to:
Citizens Right to Petition
Citizens have a right to petition the county government on any matter under the responsibility of the county government. The government is obliged to respond to petitions submitted in writing. Additionally, the county government may conduct a referendum on citizen petitions of local issues.
- Clauses 88-90, The County Governments Act, 2012
· deliberate and make proposals to the relevant bodies or institutions on service delivery, annual budgets, county policies and legislation, and on other matters of concern to citizens;
· plan strategies to engage various levels of government on issues of concern to citizens; and
· monitor activities of elected and appointed officials of urban areas and cities, including city and municipal board members
Clause 22 also states that a city or municipality board invite representation and petitions from Citizen Fora (or a forum of citizens)on administration or management issues. The boards are obliged to make recommendations on any issues raised at the Citizen Fora and pass them on to the city or municipality manager for implementation. The manager must then report to the board any decision s/he makes in response to the petition.
Principles for Minorities and Marginalised Groups
Clause 97 of The County Government Act, 2012, states that a county government, public and private organisation and private individual, shall observe the following principles:
· protection of marginalized and minority groups from discrimination and from treatment of distinction of any kind, including language, religion, culture, national or social origin, sex, caste, birth, descent or other status;
· non-discrimination and equality of treatment in all areas of economic, educational, social, religious, political and cultural life of the marginalized and minority groups;
· special protection to vulnerable persons who may be subject to threats or acts of discrimination, hostility, violence and abuse as a result of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious or other identity;
· special measures of affirmative action for marginalized and minority groups to ensure their enjoyment of equal rights with the rest of the population;
· respect and promotion of the identity and characteristics of minorities;
· promotion of diversity and intercultural education; and
· promotion of effective participation of marginalised and minority groups in public and political life.