Popular Participation in Legislative Law-Making under the New Democratic Dispensation in Kenya

John Mukuna, Melvin LM Mbao

Abstract


This article examines the extent of entrenchment of the ideal of participation of the people of Kenya in legislative law-making process under the new democratic dispensation ushered by the 2010 Constitution. In terms of law-making by Parliament and County Assemblies, the 2010 Constitution is a clear departure from the 1963 Constitution which exclusively vested law-making in peoples’ representatives. Under the 2010 Constitution, direct participation of the people in law-making and political governance generally is one of the cardinal democratic ideals of the new dispensation. This shift was prompted by decades of usurpation of the role of Parliament by the Executive such that the legislature became a key pillar in the enforcement of authoritarianism in the country. The new trajectory was intended by the drafters of the Constitution to enable the people of Kenya to play a central role in political governance and legislative law-making in particular. This article examines the operationalization of the ideal of popular participation in the legislative or statutory business of Parliament and of the County Assemblies. It argues that notwithstanding clear constitutional provisions for popular inclusion in law-making by these institutions, their law-making processes have not in any meaningful way engaged the people. Their approach has therefore not significantly changed the modus operadi of law-making which dents the road towards the enrichment of the country’s democracy. There is therefore compelling need for the law to be reformed so as to fully embrace the voice of the people in law-making in Parliament and in the County Assemblies.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p438


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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