Public Participation and the Right to Development in Kenya

Authors Anthony Wambugu Munene

ISSN: 2521-2613 Affiliations: Source: Africa Nazarene University Law Journal, 2019, Issue 1, p. 64 – 85


The principle of public participation has for a long time been an important feature of human rights law especially with regard to the right to development. This principle has been significant in giving meaning to international human rights instruments and has been a constant theme in many declarations, recommendations and resolutions of the United Nations. At the African regional level, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights have both highlighted the central role that participation of the beneficiaries in their development plays in the implementation of the right to development. Under the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the general rules of international law and treaties and conventions that Kenya has ratified form part of the law of Kenya. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution sets out several fundamental rights and freedoms with the caveat that it does not exclude other rights and fundamental freedoms not included in it but which are recognised and conferred by law, such as the right to development. This means that the right to development, as provided for in the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is a fundamental right known to Kenyan law and enforceable as such. The Constitution further sets out participation of the people as one of the national values and principles of governance in Kenya. This contribution explores the law, policies and practices on public participation as an enabling principle in implementation of the right to development in Kenya.