Evaluation of Participatory Communication in the Governance of Busia County – Kenya

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Evaluation of Participatory Communication in the Governance of Busia County – Kenya

Michael Otieno Oloo, Prof. W. Okumu Bigambo, Dr, Masibo Lumala
Department of Publishing, Journalism and Communication Studies, School of Information Sciences, Moi University, P.O Box 3900-30100, Eldoret Kenya

IJRISS Call for paper

DOI: https://doi.org/10.51244/IJRSI.2023.10418

Received: 13 April 2023; Accepted: 25 April 2023; Published: 25 May 2023

Abstract: Public Participation (PP) was inscribed in the Kenya’s 2010 constitution to facilitate collaborative dialogue in governance. Inclusive governance was meant to facilitate and sustain citizen’s empowerment and developmental wellbeing. Busia County has been on record for high poverty rate. The study explored the communicative challenges that inhibit the performances of Participatory Communication (PC) in governance of the County. The questions comprised: How does Busia County use Public Participation as a tool of communication with the stakeholders? What are the communication benefits of Public Participation in Busia County? What are the communication challenges of using Public Participation in governance at Busia County? Newcomb’s communication model was applied to illustrate the role of PP as the communicative tool in governance. The study was carried out through qualitative approach via case study method. Barnlund’s Transactional Model, provided the study with functional communication cues inherent in collaborative engagements. Conflict Theory was applied to illustrate the factors that create systematic disorders in organizations. Purposive sampling was used to raise 35 participants from seven sub counties of the county. The participants comprised teachers, traders, farmers, MCAs and County Government staff. The qualitative data was analyzed through thematic technique. The study established apathy and lack of committed goodwill by the leadership as the major setback to PP performance in governance. The knowledge about functions of PC in the performance of PP in governance is significant information to academia. To policy makers, the findings are useful for formulating and sustaining legal and enforceable communication framework to improve inclusive governance. To practice, the proposed ideals would empower PRE’s to be the responsible advocates and enforce goodwill for mutual gains of all county stakeholders. The findings would further good governance in CG to facilitate the general publics to have a say in prioritization and implementation of their development wishes. These ideals would liberate citizens from challenges associated with underdevelopment, thus culminating to sustainable livelihood.

Keywords: Participatory Communication, Public Participation, Governance, Challenges, Development

I. Introduction

The Kenya 2010 constitution enshrined citizen’s sovereignty through Public Participation (PP) (Uraia, 2010). PP is a communicative function of participatory communication for dialogic engagements. PP was meant to facilitate stakeholders’ engagement and empowerments in governance