Definitions of Significant Terms
Public Participation – IAP2 (2002) defines public participation as “the process by which an organization consults with interested or affected individuals, organizations and government entities before development.
It is an open, accountable process through which individuals and groups within selected making a decision”. In essence, participation gives “voice” to the voiceless and “agency” to attend to the needs of the marginalized, in this way the public’s needs come first through positive communities can exchange views and influence decision making.
Behavioural Factors – These are overt actions and underlying psychological processes of an individual that influence their participation in budget formulation processes. They include trust and attitude (Mizrahi 2009).
County Integrated Development Plan – Is a primary document which outlines the concession programmes and projects that the County Government is committed to implementing?
Democratic governance will be meaningless if governments do not ensure an effective and fully informed public participation. Bastidas (2004) Governments need to better take into account public participation not only to effectively engage the general public, but also to establish a more mutually beneficial government and citizen relationship.
The opportunity to take part in a political process is such a fundamental tenet of any democratic society. Aulich (2009) Kanyinga (2014) argues that public participation is an important component of democracy because ‘rule by the people’ is the underlying and founding principle of any democracy. Public participation is vital to the processes of community design, planning, and development.
Community involvement and citizen participation in planning may be more time- and resource-intensive than wholly “top-down” planning, but they offer benefits in that they ensure and strengthen democracy, increases accountability, improves process quality, manages social conflicts, safeguards against externalities, enhances process legitimacy and protects business interests. Proactive planning that incorporates meaningful public involvement increases the likelihood of a project’s success.
Successful public participation also often requires specialized group process techniques, such as the use of three-dimensional visuals and participatory activities. Tensions exist between views of participation as an essential element of successful democracy and participation as a means for achieving something else, be it a specific decision outcome with regard to resource sharing and utilization, a desire for more informed, accountable or legitimate decision making process, or the desire to give communities a stronger say in how they are being governed or contributing to a more educated and engaged public (Abelson & Eyles, 2004).
All people, particularly young, marginalized and vulnerable groups, have a right to express their views on decisions directly affecting their lives (OECD, 2001). This fundamental right can only be honoured if Government-citizen connections are further strengthened (Lukensmeyer, 2009). Lammers (1988) further asserts that Participation is not an end in itself; as a procedural right, it represents the means through which citizens may take part in and influence processes, decisions and activities.
Meaningful citizen participation in governance is a key ingredient for public reforms that were instituted by the Constitution of Kenya (CoK) 2010. Article 1 (1) of the Constitution vests all sovereign power to the people of Kenya. This power can be expressed through direct participation or indirectly through elected representatives. In addition, various pieces of legislations anchoring devolution highlight the principles of citizen participation.
Together, these constitutional and legislative provisions avail various platforms for citizen participation in devolved governance. Citizen participation is one of the national values and is also one of the principles of public service as articulated in the Constitution in Articles 10 (2,a) and Article 232 (1).
The 1994 democratic elections in South Africa led to a new form of governance that emphasizes public participation in public policy making in all spheres of government.
According to the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) (2002) this new form of governance is also stipulated in the South African Constitution (1996) that mandates that all public policy processes should encompass democratic participation of the people. For local government, this implied new approaches to development planning that led to the introduction of the Integrated Development Plans in 1996. Through the Integrated Development Planning process, the people are given an opportunity to identify and prioritize their needs, identify available resources from their communities, and to participate during the development, implementation and review of the Integrated Development Plans.
According to the Municipal Systems Act (2000) and the Municipal Structures Act (1998) all the municipalities should develop an Integrated Development Plan in consultation with local people, that is, there should be full and active participation of the people in each ward in integrated development planning process. Integrated development planning is aimed at addressing poor planning of the past and to ensure sustainable rural development. It is therefore a requirement for and the responsibility of each municipality to ensure that there is adequate and effective participation of the local residents in each ward. The two pieces of legislation stipulate that people participation forums and community based planning should form an integral part of the Integrated Development Planning process.
According to legislation, municipalities in South Africa should have Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and they are mandated to ensure that the Integrated Development Planning (IDP) process includes high levels and quality of citizen participation in their respective localities. Despite this legislative requirement, most rural communities “do not have the knowledge and information of the options and the implications of the options they can use to participate meaningfully in local government affairs” (Brynard, 1996: 42) because they were left underdeveloped and under-serviced by the apartheid regime.
Resources to empower rural communities are in most cases inadequate. It is therefore a challenge for local government to capacitate the people in rural communities to participate effectively in the IDP process in their own localities. DPLG (2002) recognizes and emphasizes the importance of empowering the people to participate meaningfully in the IDP process. The researcher therefore sees it useful to consider and investigate capacity-building programmes employed by local authorities to strengthen the quality and level of participation of rural communities in the IDP process.
Public participation is a principle that has been given prominence in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The people’s sovereign power can be expressed through direct participation or indirectly through elected representatives. Article 10 (2) of the Constitution provides that public participation is a national value and principle of governance. The principle of public participation is echoed across the Constitution. The public is expected to participate and be involved in the legislative and other business of Parliament and its committees.
One of the objects of devolution is to give powers of self-governance to the people and enhance the participation of the people in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them. Participation should instil all public affairs and be promoted by both State and Non-State Actors (NSAs) acting in public interest.
The Constitution particularly sets key requirement for Parliament and the County Assemblies to provide frameworks for public participation in legislative processes. This emphasis for the people’s representatives to ensure public participation underscores the fact that the election of representatives does not negate the need for people to continuously be involved in governance processes. This could be established through ministerial and/or legislative frameworks. Parliament and County Assemblies are required to enact legislation on participation and also develop procedural guidelines for people to exercise this right.
Statement of Problem
Public participation is a principle that has been given prominence in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Participation should fill all public affairs and be promoted by both Non State Actors and the State acting in public interest. The Constitution sets key requirements for the legislature at both levels of government to provide frameworks for public participation in governance processes. This emphasis for citizen participation underscores the fact that the election of representatives does not negate the need for people to continuously be involved in governance processes.
Lack of effective public participation in county government affairs and in the CIDP process is a common challenge in many counties. The problem is that rural communities often low literacy levels and lack the knowledge and understanding of county government issues, and understanding of benefits of their participation to their lives.
Despite the County Government of Nyamira making intensive adverts in dailies and local stations about dates and venues of various public participation meetings, there has always been a low turnout by the residents in the forums.
The study will therefore seek to know if the community awareness, behavioural factors and economic factors influence Public Participation in the Development of County Strategy Paper.
Objective of the study
The purpose of this study will be to investigate the influence of Public Participation in the development County strategy paper .
Specific objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study will be:
- To assess whether community awareness about public participation influence public participation in the development of County Strategy Paper.
- To access whether behavioural factors influence public participation in the development of County Strategy Paper.
- To find out whether economic factors influences public participation in the development of County Strategy Paper.
The study will be guided by the following questions:
- How does community awareness influence public participation in the development of County Strategy Paper?
- How do behavioural factors influence public participation in the development of County Strategy Paper?
- Do economic factors influence public participation in the development of County Strategy Paper?
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will benefit various stake holders. The County Government of Nyamira and Kenya at large will be enlightened on areas that need more resources, attention and effort. It will equip the various governments with the specific information on areas that need improvement and hence guide their actions. This study would contribute to the existing body of knowledge on public participation in the county integrated development planning process as well as form a basis for further studies in future.
Scope of the study
The purpose of this study will be to investigate the influence of Public Participation in the development of County strategy paper in Nyamira County. The study will be conducted from in the month of August 2018 at an estimated cost of Kshs 49,500.