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  • Writer's pictureIrungu Houghton

The first 100 days: A Scorecard and Suggestions for Strengthening Public Engagement by the National

Revised and updated presentation to the “Strengthening deliberative and legislative Processes”, Kenyan National Assembly and Senate Leadership retreats, 11-16th July, 2013

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If the 20th century was the century of Government, 21st century will be the century of citizens. Citizens globally, and Kenya is no exception, are more capable of disrupting governance and bringing public processes to a halt when they disagree or do not understand the direction their leaders take. Effective leadership now requires consistent trust, open and inclusive mechanisms and processes that can listen and respond to citizen’s voices and priorities.

Despite the new constitution and national laws, both the state and citizens have yet to fundamentally transform their ways of working. As the National Assembly, Senate and County Assemblies mark their first 100 days since the March 4 elections, national and county leaders are openly conflictual across all three legislative arms of the State. The current tensions and open conflict between National and County arms of the state and the public is the consequence of inward-looking systems, passive communication approaches and an inability to inspire and keep a sense of collective ownership over public affairs.

This paper explores the source of these tensions in terms of institutional capacities. It proposes new mechanisms, actions and processes that could be introduced to transform relationships and leave both formal institutions and the general public clearer of their roles and cohesive, participatory policy agenda for the nation. In so doing, we can continue to light candles through the dark points of this transition.


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