New wine in an old wineskin? Socio-political context and participatory budgeting in Kenya

Kibui Edwin Rwigi, Erick Manga, George Michuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Participatory Budgeting (PB) experiments in municipalities across the world have yielded varied results as there are municipalities. The Kenyan experience of participatory experiments has not fared any better. Following the 2013 elections, which initiated county governments in line with the 2010 constitution, Makueni County emerged as a unique case for study having experimented with its very own participatory budgeting mechanism. The qualitative study reported in this article examined how Makueni’s PB framework is designed and implemented. The emerging outcomes of institutional design and implementation are then
contextualised to Makueni’s socio-political and cultural setting. The study discusses two sets of PB outcomes: outcomes on public participation (questions of inclusion, exclusion and quality of participation in PB) and outcomes of PB (concerned with the endline developmental products of the PB process). The purpose of this article is to recentre the often-ignored considerations on the socio-political and cultural in PB experiments in Kenya’s devolved governance structures and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-511
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Eastern African Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2020


  • Kenya
  • participatory budgeting
  • public engagement
  • elite privilege
  • development


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