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Kenya

Open Government Resiliency (KE0023)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Kenya Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Office of the Deputy President, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Support Institution(s): Other actors involved - government Senate, National Assembly Other actors involved - CSOs, private sector, working groups, Multilaterals etc Local Development Research Institute (LDRI), Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Africa Open Data Network (AODN), IDRC

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Kenya Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Commitment 6: Build Open Government
Resiliency
We will build political support across National, County Government, Civil Society,
Private sector, Pan African Institutions and other OGP participating Countries in
Africa to share skills, knowledge, resources and expertise.
Objective
Ensure that the Open Government Partnership initiative in Kenya and Africa is resilient,
continuing its unique role as a platform for co-creation, dialogue and collaboration
between governments, parliaments, private sector and civil society.
Status quo
Support system for Open Government is currently unstructured or non-existent within
and across African Countries. As noted by the Support Unit, Open Government in Africa
mostly revolves around individual PoC’s and lacks whole-of-government high level
political support.
Ambition
Open Government Partnership is a unique platform that could de-risk the implementation
of the Big 4 Agenda, consolidate democratic gains and bring into existence, the values
of Agenda 2063 that seeks to ensure that Africa remains a cohesive Union, not only of
member states but that of peoples.
Lead implementing Organization
Office of the Deputy President, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Contact Person:
Dr. Korir Singoei
Legal Advisor/Lead-Legislative and Inter-governmental Liaison Office
Email: Abraham.singoei@gmail.com
Tel. +254722 776 994
Timeline
September 2018 to May 2020
OGP values
Access to information, Public accountability, Citizen Engagement, Use of Technology
New or ongoing commitment
New
Page 28 of 30
Other actors involved - government
Senate, National Assembly
Other actors involved - CSOs, private sector, working groups, Multilaterals etc
Local Development Research Institute (LDRI), Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM),
Africa Open Data Network (AODN), IDRC
Verifiable and measurable milestones to
fulfil the commitment
New or
ongoing
Start date End date
26. Develop an Open Government
Program in support of the NAP III
New January
2018
April
2019
27. Establishment of a multi-stakeholder
technical committee and OGP National
Secretariat
New December
2018
April
2019
28. Create an Open Government Network
in Kenya as the permanent dialogue
mechanism
New June
2019
December
2019
29. Create a Community of Practice for
Open Government, including an OGP
Kenya Website and knowledge sharing
platform
New January
2019
July
2020
30. Document stories and best practices
amongst the Open Government
Partners in Kenya/Africa
New June
2019
July
2020

IRM Midterm Status Summary

6. Build Open Government Resiliency

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“We will build political support across National, County Government, Civil Society, Private sector, Pan African Institutions and other OGP participating Countries in Africa to share skills, knowledge, resources and expertise.”

Objective

Ensure that the Open Government Partnership initiative in Kenya and Africa is resilient, continuing its unique role as a platform for co-creation, dialogue and collaboration between governments, parliaments, private sector and civil society.

Milestones

  1. Develop an Open Government Program in support of the NAP III
  2. Establishment of a multi-stakeholder technical committee and OGP National Secretariat
  3. Create an Open Government Network in Kenya as the permanent dialogue mechanism
  4. Create a Community of Practice for Open Government, including an OGP Kenya Website and knowledge sharing platform
  5. Document stories and best practices amongst the Open Government Partners in Kenya/Africa

Start Date: January 2018

End Date: July 2020

Editorial note: This is a partial version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KENYA_Action-Plan_2018-2020_0.pdf

Commitment Overview

Verifiability

OGP Value Relevance (as written)

Potential Impact

Completion

Did It Open Government?

Not specific enough to be verifiable

Specific enough to be verifiable

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Technology & Innovation for Transparency & Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Completed

Worsened

Did Not Change

Marginal

Major

Outstanding

1. Overall

X

X

X

X

X

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Context and Objectives

Currently only fourteen countries in Africa are participating in the OGP process. This commitment seeks to build an OGP support system in which the institutionalization of open government programmes can be fostered across governments throughout the region. The commitment also seeks to address current deficits in OGP coordination and institutional support and sets out to establish and strengthen the national OGP programme. [131]

The assessment of NAP II made various recommendations related to the sustainability and institutionalisation of OGP in Kenya including: creating a budget for the implementation of the open government programme and related coordination activities; creating interagency collaborative frameworks; instituting quarterly progress meetings and the publicizing of progress reports. [132] This followed from the identification of weaknesses such as: inadequate representation of local and sub-national CSOs; lack of consistency between OGP plans; lack of adequate resourcing; insufficient institutional and technical capacity concerning OGP processes; a need to weak inter-agency working; limited transparency and so on. [133] These sentiments were further echoed by a member of civil society who stated that OGP “isn’t institutionally anchored …it relies on “champions” which makes it hard to track with transitions… We cannot be anchoring reforms on mere champions. It's too volatile in the face of Africa's changing politics.” [134] This commitment is therefore a clear indication that steps are being taken to address these cleavages.

The commitment as drafted is clear and verifiable and outputs of the process can be easily assessed. However, specificity could be enhanced: for instance, milestone twenty six refers to the establishment of an OGP programme but however does little to indicate the form, structure or shelf-life of the proposed programme. This is particularly relevant given that coordination challenges have been highlighted as a challenge both in the development and implementation of the current NAP. [135] [136]

In regard to the OGP values, ‘Access to information’, ‘technology and innovation for transparency and accountability’ and ‘civic participation’ are all reflected in the milestones: Access to information could be potentially enhanced through the Permanent Dialogue Mechanism (PDM) and community of practice. PDMs can take on a variety of forms including information portals, town hall forums, media roundtables, policy dialogues and so on. [137] In some cases these allow for enhanced communication between different sectors and actors and improved transparency around decision making. Civic participation would be enhanced via milestones twenty seven and twenty eight, more so if these platforms also function as network hubs in which learning takes place.

In relation to whether this particular commitment would open government, the impact of this commitment in relation to its stated objective has been rated as “minor”. In order to achieve resilience, concerns around co-creation and dialogue will need to be adequately addressed for resilience to be achieved. This includes ensuring: wider representation from the counties (sub-national) and special interest groups; adequate documentation of processes and decision outcomes; and succession planning. It is not enough to assume that these aspects will be covered by milestone twenty six. Additionally, the overarching question of the CSO operating environment will also need to addressed. The commencement and implementation of the Public Benefits Organisations (PBO) Act (2012) would be instrumental in maintaining CSO participation which thus far has been at the core of the OGP in Kenya. [138] The Act has remained in limbo since its enactment. It will also be important for Kenya to consider that the performance of the PDM is also contingent on external factors arising from institutional, financial, legal, and political spheres. For instance, the shrinking of civic space especially during times of political upheaval, would undoubtedly affect the PDM.

Secondly, while much needed first steps towards resilience have been introduced, the commitment focuses on the establishment of platforms and networks but does not necessarily outline the uptake of resiliency strategies that would ensure that these networks and platforms are resilient, sustainable and effective in and of themselves. More could also be said about the resourcing of OGP initiatives in Kenya given that it has been identified as a key impediment to the realisation of OGP commitments. The establishment of a programme does not necessitate that it will be adequately resourced and funded. In regard to the regional scope of this commitment, the milestones do not appear to take a proactive stance towards ensuring that resilience across Africa occurs. The objective is quite clear in expanding the scope of the vision to include the Africa region while the interventions outlined narrow this focus to Kenya. Therefore the work that is already being undertaken to foster resilience across the country (amongst subnational governments) and with other African states through mentorship and learning exchanges will not be captured when implementation against the milestones is evaluated or measured. [139] That being said, while regional OGP work is important, especially politically, it does not immediately or strongly impact resilience and the opening of government at the national level.

Ensuring resilience will also require adequate representation of citizens. The current NAP addresses this by including three sub-national governments and the Senate in the implementation of the NAP. However, wider participation is not necessarily assured through the current milestones. Very little is said about the membership requirements to either the Open Government Network or the Community of Practice and the levels of access allowed by members. The Community of Practice and emerging network may be closed and therefore less participatory than envisioned. Significant effort has been made to improve political buy in for the current NAP. [140] [141] [142] However, it would be important to collectively reflect on how political will and ownership can be sustained and to move towards the adoption of a model of institutionalization. [143]

Lastly, grafting in milestones that promote utilisation especially within milestones twenty eight, twenty nine and thirty would also go a long way to enhancing the impact of the commitment. This is especially so given the fact that involvement in OGP in Kenya, for both CSOs and state agencies/ department has been known to wax and wane in the light of competing or shifting priorities, political transitions, misalignment with the OGP agenda, or shifts in donor priorities among other factors. [144] [145] [146] Different interventions can be incorporated to further reflect on these factors.

Next steps

The IRM Researcher therefore recommends that those involved in the OGP process consider the following:

  • The OGP secretariat should strengthen its coordination framework in order to build synergy between the various stakeholders and implementers of the plan. [147] [148]
  • The government should implement the Public Benefits Organization Act (2013). [149]
  • Developing guidelines around the operation of the PDM, including: membership requirements; levels of access; approach to documenting best practices and stories; the manner in which dissemination of information will be undertaken; frequency of meetings and so on.
  • Grafting in milestones that promote utilization of the platforms outlined and that promotes membership to the network and community of practice.
  • Introducing mechanisms that can assist in evaluating the effectiveness of the PDM and community of practice such as has been undertaken in Moldova through the introduction of a performance scorecard of OGP initiatives. This could be used as the basis for discussion and communication to the public. [150]
  • Focus on enhancing resilience in Kenya prior to extending this to the rest of the region.
[131] Interview 5, Interview with IRM, 31st August 2019.
[132] Othim, C (2018) Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Kenya Progress Report 2016- 2018, Independent Researcher, Government of Kenya (2018) Open Government Partnerships. Available at: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KENYA_Action-Plan_2018-2020_0.pdf
[133] Ibid.
[134] Interview 14, Personal correspondence (2019) Whatsaap message. 1 November 2019.
[135] Interview 13, Interview with IRM, 13th November 2019.
[136] Interview 10, Interview with IRM, 12th August 2019.
[137] Razzano, G (2016) Connecting the Dots the Coordination Challenge for the Open Government Partnership in SA, Open Democracy Advice Centre and Making All Voices Count. Available at: https://www.corruptionwatch.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Odac-Book_Digital.pdf
[138] Ongere, C (2019) Give CSOs better workspace. The Star, 14 January 2019. https://www.the-star.co.ke/opinion/columnists/2019-01-14-churchill-ongere-give-csos-better-workspace/
[139] Interview 5, Interview with IRM, 31st August 2019
[140] Interview 9, Interview with IRM, 26th August 2019.
[141] Interview 5, Interview with IRM, 31st August 2019.
[142] Interview 13, Interview with IRM, 13th November 2019.
[143] Interview 13, Interview with IRM, 13th November 2019.
[144] Interview 11, Interview with IRM, 11th November 2019.
[145] Interview 13, Interview with IRM, 13th November 2019.
[146] Interview 4, Interview with IRM, 28th August 2019.
[147] Interview 13, Interview with IRM, 13th November 2019.
[148] Interview 4, Interview with IRM ,28th August 2019
[149] Interview 15, Interview with IRM ,14th November 2019

Commitments

  1. Create public beneficial ownership register

    KE0024, 2020, Access to Information

  2. Implement e-government system adopting Open Contracting Data Standard

    KE0025, 2020, Access to Information

  3. Publish open data to spur innovation in public service delivery and development

    KE0026, 2020, Access to Information

  4. Increase efforts to promote public participation in the legislative process

    KE0027, 2020, Civic Space

  5. Apply County Peer Review Mechanism to improve public service delivery

    KE0028, 2020, E-Government

  6. Implement Access to Information Act

    KE0029, 2020, Access to Information

  7. Implement legislation to increase access to justice

    KE0030, 2020, Access to Justice

  8. Build institutional support of OGP

    KE0031, 2020, Capacity Building

  9. Beneficial Ownership

    KE0018, 2018, Access to Information

  10. Open Contracting

    KE0019, 2018, Access to Information

  11. Open Geo-Spatial Data for Development

    KE0020, 2018, Access to Information

  12. Public Participation

    KE0021, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. Governance Indices

    KE0022, 2018, Capacity Building

  14. Open Government Resiliency

    KE0023, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. More Transparent and Participatory Development of Climate Polices at the National and Subnational Level

    KE0010, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Enhancing Preventive and Punitive Mechanisms in the Fight Against Corruption and Unethical Practices

    KE0011, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  17. Enhance Transparency in the Legislative Process

    KE0012, 2016, E-Government

  18. Publish Oil and Gas Contracts

    KE0013, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  19. Starred commitment Ensure Greater Transparency Around Bids and Contracts

    KE0014, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  20. Create Transparent Public Procurement Process, Public Oversight of Expenditure and Ensure Value-For-Money Towards Citizen Priorities

    KE0015, 2016, Access to Information

  21. Improving Access to Government Budget Information and Creating Wider and More Inclusive Structures for Public Participation

    KE0016, 2016, E-Government

  22. Starred commitment Enhance Right to Information

    KE0017, 2016, Access to Information

  23. Starred commitment Improving Transparency in Electoral Processes: 1.A. Definition of Electoral Boundaries and Name.

    KE0001, 2012, Media & Telecommunications

  24. Improving Transparency in Electoral Processes: 2.B. Voting Information Online

    KE0002, 2012, Access to Information

  25. Promoting Public Participation: 1.B. End-To-End Service Delivery Portal

    KE0003, 2012, E-Government

  26. Promoting Public Participation: 1.D. Public Complaints Portal

    KE0004, 2012, E-Government

  27. Promoting Public Participation: 2.C. Kenya Action Plan Online

    KE0005, 2012, Public Participation

  28. Promoting Public Participation: 1.C. Open Data Portal

    KE0006, 2012, Access to Information

  29. Starred commitment Improving Transparency in the Judiciary: 2.A. Public Vetting of Judges and Case Allocation System

    KE0007, 2012, E-Government

  30. Open Budgets: 3.a. Improve Kenya's OBI Index

    KE0008, 2012, Fiscal Openness

  31. Open Budgets: 3.B. Increase Public Participation in Budgetary Processes

    KE0009, 2012, Access to Information

Open Government Partnership