What do Kenyans Know About Devolution? Survey Evidence on Political Knowledge and Public Opinion
46 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 7, 2020
Decentralization often aims to improve service delivery and accountability by bring- ing government closer to citizens and increasing citizens’ participation in self-government. For instance, Kenya’s devolved system seeks to strengthen service delivery by localizing public participation in policy and legislative processes. However, this objective assumes sufficient levels of civic competence and citizens’ ability to correctly attribute responsibility to different tiers of government. This raises an important question: What do Kenyans know about devolution and its implications for access to government services, public participation, inter-governmental division of labor, and subnational politicians’ performance? This paper answers this question using a representative survey (N = 1800). The data reveal gendered and partisan patterns of political knowledge and preferences for governmental responsibility; and significant partisan variation in support for devolution and its perceived impacts. In contextualizing these findings, the paper provides a framework for understanding inter-governmental relations and contemporary politics of devolution in Kenya.
Keywords: Devolution, Political Knowledge, Attribution, Accountability, Kenya
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