One fundamental issue informing the spirit and letter of devolution is the need to ensure citizen participation and oversight in governance and development practice in order to respond to the tenuous relationships between the people and their leaders. This is perhaps the reason why most of the legislations related to operationalization of County governments provide for numerous and expanded opportunities for citizen participation.
Below are some examples of these very encouraging windows of opportunities and platforms for engagement as provided by the enabling legislation, especially the County Governments Act, 2012.
• First, residents of any given County as individuals and/or collectively as a group are granted the right to petition a county assembly to consider any matter within its authority, including enacting, amending or repealing any of its legislation. It is therefore a right and legal requirement that citizens resident in a county are accorded the space to input into draft county laws. Similar to the opportunities available to petition the County Assembly, county resident in urban centres are granted the right to petition the Municipality Boards either individually or through Citizen Fora for Cities and Urban centers.
• Second, some of the petitions to county government, county laws and other planning and investment decisions affecting the county may end up with a local referendum.
• Third, the electorate in a county ward may recall their member of the county assembly before the end of the term of the member on any of the grounds provided within the law.
• Forth, residents of a County are granted the right to timely access to information including information, data, documents, and other information relevant or related to policy formulation and implementation. Hence information such as the County budgets, County integrated
Development Plans (CIDP) and programs are meant to be public documents. Furthermore, performance management Plans and reports are some of the public documents that the County government is expected to share for citizen evaluation The law doesn’t only grant rights and spaces for citizen participation, but it goes further to place the burden of facilitating realization of these rights on County governments. The law for example requires the County governments to establish information communication technology based platforms, conduct town hall meetings; budget preparation and validation for a including make use of County notice boards. In fact the law requires the County government to undertake Civic education on avenues and platforms through which county citizens could effectively participate.