Principal Secretary, State Department of Devolution, Mr. Micah Pkopus Powon 

Participants at the Kara Bimonthly Talk Series forum held on 17th October 2017 challenged the government to set aside funds that will facilitate effective public participation in Kenya.

While the constitution has elaborate provisions for public participation in decision making processes, there are concerns that the structures to support participation are yet to be properly established. There is also no clarity on the definition and thresholds for public participation.

Speaking at the forum, the Principal Secretary, State Department of Devolution, Mr. Micah Pkopus Powon explained that the government has developed guidelines for public participation which county governments can make reference to when developing legislations or mechanisms for public participation at the county level. He also stated that the government will continue working with the civil society and other partners to promote civic education and public participation at all decision making levels.

Other speakers at the forum included Ms. Rosemary Irungu, Programs Manager, Council of Governors and Ms. Grace Maingi, Executive Director, Uraia Trust. Ms. Maingi stated that according to a study on citizen engagement carried out by Uraia in 2016, only 40% of respondents said that they have attended a public/town hall meeting to discuss the affairs of their county. She urged participants to continue engaging the government and their elected representatives so as to strengthen accountability and promote provision of better services. Ms. Irungu said that most of the counties have already put in place statutory guidelines for public participation. She also noted that the County Governments through the Council of Governors is lobbying for the provision of funds to support public participation agenda at the county level.