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Kenya End-of-Term Report 2016-2018

Kenya’s second national action plan addressed priority policy areas for reform, such as beneficial ownership, extractives, open contracting, and open budgets. By the end of term, the commitment on beneficial ownership was fully implemented, while the commitments on climate change, legislative openness, and right to information were substantially completed and contributed to open government by changing the current government practice. The next national action plan should focus on fewer, more defined goals for each commitment, ensuring clear identification of the implementing officials and the available resources.

Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) End-of-Term Report (2016-2018)

Table 1: At a Glance
Mid-term End of term
Number of Commitments 8 8
Level of Completion
Completed 0 1
Substantial 4 3
Limited 2 2
Not Started 2 2
Number of Commitments with…
Clear Relevance to OGP Values 8 8
Transformative Potential Impact 3 3
Substantial or Complete Implementation 4 4
All Three (✪) 2 2
Did It Open government?
Major 2
Outstanding 0
Moving Forward
Number of Commitments Carried Over to Next Action Plan 3

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary international initiative that aims to secure commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) carries out a review of the activities of each OGP-participating country. This report summarizes the results of the period July 2016 to June 2018 and includes some relevant developments up to September 2018.

The OGP process in Kenya was cochaired between the Office of the Deputy President (ODP) and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Authority, an agency within the Ministry of ICT under the executive branch. The Office of the Deputy President was designated a cochair because the presidency has the legal power to enforce policy changes on other agencies within the government. As a result of this mandate, and broader involvement of stakeholders, the second action plan is more diverse, and the commitments cover a broader spectrum of issues relevant to OGP, implemented by different Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).

The second national action plan had two starred commitments. They resulted in increased transparency by introducing beneficial ownership regulations and disclosure policies and transformation of Kenya’s record management and transparency through seven steps, including passing Right to Information (RTI) legislation and establishing a central digital repository for government records of public interest. The substantially completed commitments increased citizen involvement in climate change policy, increased access to environmental information to citizens, and increased citizen involvement in law making.

The government did not publish a self-assessment report.

At the time of writing this report, the Office of the Deputy President had published Kenya’s third national action plan for public comment. The draft action plan includes five overarching commitments, three of which address issues carried forward from the second plan (beneficial ownership, open contracting, and public participation). The third action plan addresses open geospatial data for development and building open government resiliency. However, several key stakeholder priority areas are not included, such as climate change, legislative openness, right to information, and anti-corruption measures. One government respondent indicated that the third action plan was drafted in line with Kenya’s development blueprint for the next five years, the Big Four Agenda: food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and affordable healthcare for all.[1]

Consultation with Civil Society during Implementation

Countries participating in OGP follow a process for consultation during development and implementation of their action plan.

The government of Kenya formed a steering committee to spearhead the development and oversee the implementation of the second action plan. The committee was cochaired by the Office of the Deputy President and the Ministry of ICT, and is comprised of government agencies, four civil society organizations (CSOs), and one private-sector entity. This committee served as Kenya’s multistakeholder forum.

During implementation, members of the steering committee organized themselves into thematic clusters around the specific commitments and their areas of interest, including: climate change, transparency and accountability, legislative openness, anti-corruption, extractives, open contracting, budget transparency, and access to information. The steering committee held regular meetings to take stock of progress with the creation of clear workplans with timelines to track implementation.

The Office of the Deputy President, Article 19, Hivos, and the Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) convened a total of eight meetings[ii] during the two-year implementation period (from January 2018 to August 2018) in Nairobi and Nakuru. These meetings aimed to discuss the progress, implementation needs, and working area commitments of Kenya’s second action plan, as well as consolidating gains and tracking progress of commitment implementation. In general, the meetings featured updates from government representatives on all the commitments and were open to questions and comments from civil society representatives and members of the public. The meetings were interactive and allowed everyone to share their viewpoints. The meetings’ agendas had enough time for questions and answers, and civil society had opportunities to offer feedback on the progress. The invitations, agendas, and minutes for these meetings were circulated via email to selected participants.

Table 2: Consultation during Implementation

Regular Multi-stakeholder Forum Midterm End of Term
1. Did a forum exist? Yes Yes
2. Did it meet regularly? Yes Yes

Table 3: Level of Public Influence during Implementation

The IRM has adapted the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) “Spectrum of Participation” to apply to OGP.[iii] This spectrum shows the potential level of public influence on the contents of the action plan. In the spirit of OGP, most countries should aspire for “collaborative.”

Level of Public Influence during Implementation of Action Plan Midterm End of Term
Empower The government handed decision-making power to members of the public.
Collaborate There was iterative dialogue AND the public helped set the agenda.    
Involve The government gave feedback on how public inputs were considered.    
Consult The public could give inputs.  
Inform The government provided the public with information on the action plan.  
No Consultation No consultation    

[1] On 12 December 2017, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta announced his new plan, the ‘Big Four,’ which will guide the development agenda of the country in the period 2018–2022. It focuses on key basic needs that are critical in uplifting the standard of living of Kenyans on the path to becoming an upper middle-income country by 2030. Prioritized is affordable and decent housing, affordable healthcare, food and nutritional security, and employment creation through manufacturing. For more information, see HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BIG-FOUR AGENDA OF H.E. PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA,” Kenya Private Sector Alliance, 12 Dec. 2017, https://bit.ly/34lxXkw.  

[2] The dates of the eight meetings were: 19 Jan. 2017, 22 Feb. 2017, 23 May 2017, 24 Mar. 2017, 21 Jul. 2017, 10-11 Oct. 2017, 27 Feb. 2018, and 23 Aug. 2018. The IRM researcher attended all eight meetings as an observer.

[3] For more information on the IAP2 spectrum, see:  “IAP2’s Public Participation Spectrum,” International Association for Public Participation, 2014, http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iap2.org/resource/resmgr/foundations_course/IAP2_P2_Spectrum_FINAL.pdf.              

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