Who is Being Left Behind? Participatory Exclusion of Marginalized Groups in Kenya

Proceedings of The 5th Global Conference on Women’s Studies

Year: 2023



Who is Being Left Behind? Participatory Exclusion of Marginalized Groups in Kenya

Gloria Nyambura, Kenyatta



People’s participation is part of participatory democracy and development thinking. Recent administrations are increasingly embracing this concept in their governance processes. Therefore, it is essential to assess their performance and the participation levels of the more disadvantaged groups. Based on extensive fieldwork undertaken in two devolved governments in Kenya in 2022 and secondary documentation analysis, this paper demonstrates how public administrations can exclude significant segments of society (marginalized groups) from participation in governance processes. It provides the constitutional provisions that support and protect the marginalized groups in Kenya. Further, through qualitative analysis, it maps major promoters of participatory exclusions in government activities, which include lack of information, inaccessibility of participating sites, and societal norms. Finally, the paper acknowledges that despite Article 27 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, shielding parity and liberty from discrimination of all persons, social exclusions promote discrimination and negate the efforts towards equal participation and inclusive development. Therefore, there is a need for the administrations to make deliberate inclusion of disadvantaged groups in governance processes and enforce laws that promote participatory democracy.

keywords: gender, governance participation, minority rights, public administration, social exclusion