In Kenya, political parties are currently making policy adjustments within their parties to put their candidates in prime spots to win next year’s election. Similarly, policy provisions to guide the elections are being put in place by institutions including the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), […]
To support stronger democracy in Kenya, WFD has been working in the East African country since 2009: from implementing parliamentary strengthening programmes that enhance the capacities of the National Assembly, Senate, and County Assemblies for more effective representation, legislation, and oversight; to programmes that promote youth and persons with disabilities’ inclusion and participation in politics. In Kenya, our programmes have produced successes such as helping the Senate to play a more effective role in providing national support and guidance to county governments as per its mandate; helping to pass disability bills in three counties; supporting the set-up of functional disability leagues as channels for engagement of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in politics in four political parties; and, strengthening engagement between parliament and civil society organizations (CSOs) towards greater legislative openness and structured civic engagement.
WFD Kenya is currently implementing two programmes: Kenya Inclusive Political Parties (KIPP) and Inclusive and Accountable Politics (IAP). Find out more about the programmes by expanding the themes below.
Equality and inclusion are key priority areas in Kenya’s national agenda. Article 54 (2) of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution stipulates that the state shall ensure that at least 5% of members of the public in elective and appointive bodies are persons with disabilities (PWDs). According to the 2019 census, 2.2% (0.9 million people) of Kenyans live with some form of disability. Despite this significant numbers, PWDs in Kenya continue to experience systemic exclusion from mainstream governance and developmental processes. This exclusion has been particularly acute in areas of political representation, with limited efforts by political parties to provide a conducive environment for PWDs to engage in politics.
Summary of the programme’s objectives:
The participation of PWDs in political and public life is a human right as well as an important factor that promotes inclusive development. When PWDs participate in political and public life their voice is heard and reflected in policy decisions. To help strengthen inclusive democracy in Kenya, WFD and Demo Finland developed the Kenya Inclusive Political Parties (KIPP) programme. The programme seeks to address the critical knowledge gaps within political parties to create and promote more inclusive political discourse, political commitments, and public policymaking.
The structure of the national government in Kenya consists of three arms of government – Executive, Legislature (Parliament), and Judiciary. The legislature is established by chapter eight of the Constitution of Kenya, and the legislative authority of the Republic is derived from the people. The Kenyan Parliament consists of two houses – the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly represents the people of the constituencies and special interests in the lower house. The Senate on the other hand represents the counties and serves to protect their interests and their governments in the upper house. In general, some of the functions of the Parliament of Kenya include representing the electorate; making laws; authorizing government expenditure; scrutinising the activities of government ministries, departments, and agencies; and debating issues of national importance. In all these, openness, inclusivity, and accountability to all Kenyans is crucial. This requires strong links between parliament, civil society, and the citizenry, which cannot be achieved without proper support that brings and coordinates all these actors together.
Summary of the programme’s objectives:
Inclusive, open, and accountable democratic institutions, such as parliaments, are key to improving citizens’ trust and addressing democratic deficits. Through the FCDO-funded Inclusive and Accountable Politics (IAP) programme, WFD supports the Parliament of Kenya in its efforts to become a more open, accountable, inclusive, and well enabled institution for all Kenyans. This is by providing key IAP stakeholders – including the Senate Liaison Office (SLO), Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training (CPST), African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC), and the Civil Society Parliamentary Engagement Network (CSPEN) – regular technical guidance. WFD Kenya maximises the impact of WFD global expert products on financial accountability and inclusive politics by tailoring them to the Kenyan context. The Kenyan office also serves as a link and facilitator for Kenyan MPs and civil society organisations (CSOs) to WFD global trainings and support.
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. To mitigate this challenge, huge changes at all levels of society, politics and businesses are required. Ahead of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), WFD and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) implemented a programme to inform parliamentarians in five Sub-Saharan African countries, including Kenya, of COP26 issues. The January to June 2021 programme supported Kenyan parliamentarians in examining their national progress in delivering Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The programme also helped the MPs in scrutinising Kenya’s climate policies and legislations.
Public participation in Kenya is viewed as a constitutional right with various platforms created for citizens to engage in governance processes. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) have experienced systemic exclusion from policy and legislative processes due to challenges in accessing information and unstructured engagement. WFD through the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D) implemented a programme that sought to foster greater political engagement of PWDs. We did this by creating a platform for dialogue and structured interaction between Members of County Assembly and disabled persons organizations – enabling PWDs to engage with policy makers and duty bearers. The programme was implemented in Homa Bay, Kakamega and Kisumu counties in partnership with Action Network for the Disabled (ANDY). The programme realised the gazettement of 3 disability legislations, integration of inclusive budgeting by Kakamega County government through allocation of KES 60 million towards economic development of PWDs, and increased engagement of PWDs in governance within the 3 counties.
Meaningful participation of young people in decision making for sustainable development and good governance has been constrained across East Africa. This is mostly due to lack of concerted efforts and platforms to include young people in democratic spaces. The challenges faced by young people are rarely discussed/given prominence or are merged with priorities in other sectors. Young people are often disregarded as actors that should be at the forefront of interventions to eradicate poverty, build resilient communities, and bring forward best practices for good governance and development. To place young people at the forefront of the regional development agenda of the EAC, Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in partnership with youth organisations across the East African Community (EAC) implemented the East African Commonwealth Youth Leaders Initiative. The initiative promoted the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance (ACDEG). It also provided a platform for youth leaders to raise their voices and meaningfully participate in discussions about governance issues which affect development in the region. This initiative was delivered through the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D).
Oversight institutions in Kenya continue to be challenged by both a complex political context as well as gaps in organisational capacity, which have undermined their ability to fully discharge their mandate. The effects of these challenges have manifested themselves through increased cases of corruption, as cited in the massive losses in government projects. Effective functioning of public oversight institutions is one of the critical elements that contribute to improved accountability in the management of goods and services for a more accountable and inclusive governance. WFD through funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) implemented a programme that strengthened the oversight and scrutiny capabilities of the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC). The programme introduced principles of proactive audit to CPAIC to support periodic assessments of identified government projects during their implementation.
In 2015, WFD Kenya shifted the focus of its work to the Senate. During its previous engagements with County Assemblies, the Senate had often played a critical role in resolving intra–county issues that would otherwise have undermined WFD’s work. Seeing the potential in helping the Senate play its role more consistently and effectively, WFD formalized its relationship with the Senate with a MOU and a multi-year programme. This in turn helped the Senate play a more effective role in providing national support and guidance to county governments as per its mandate. The programme aimed at enabling a successful devolution of powers by improving both the legislative and representative roles of the Senate.
The 2010 constitution of Kenya created 47 counties and started the process of devolving power in Kenya’s political institutions. The constitutional reform sought to balance local and national interests by bringing the delivery of vital services such as sanitation, education, and healthcare closer to citizens. The success of devolution is judged by the extent to which service delivery effectively and efficiently reaches all Kenyan citizens. In 2012, WFD, in partnership with civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media, prioritised working with County Assemblies to develop their capacity to oversee and influence the county budget making process. Working with the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training (CPST), WFD developed a Public Finance Management manual for legislatures which was utilised in trainings at both national and county levels. Additionally, WFD adopted an innovative approach to working with County Budget and Appropriation Committees (BAPCs) by partnering with former MPs from the National Assembly’s Budget Committee. Through WFD’s help, the former MPs created a specialist working group. The group travelled to counties and provided mentorship to members of the Assemblies’ budget committees as they responded to draft budgets submitted by the county executive.
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Context The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) through funding from Demo Finland is implementing the Kenya Inclusive Political Parties (KIPP) Programme phase II, which seeks to ensure that political parties respond to the strategic and practical needs of PWDs within their internal party structures, political commitments, policies and in the contestation of elections. The programme […]
Addressing the critical knowledge gaps within political parties to create and promote more disability inclusive political discourse, political commitments, and public policy making is fundamental for strengthening multi-party democracy. This is not a simple task though. It requires, among other things: building strong partnerships; conducting subtle research studies to generate evidence; lobbying political parties, state […]