The APRM process in Kenya: a pathway to a new state?

The APRM process in Kenya: a pathway to a new state?

A critical review of Kenya’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process

This report takes a critical look at the self-assessment process conducted in Kenya for the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) from February 2004 through March 2006. The review identifies strengths and weaknesses of the APRM self-assessment in Kenya and examines the engagement of civil society organisations with the process.

The review concludes that, while the APRM process in Kenya did yield a significant amount of quality data and a valid report, the process was not as empowering and inclusive as it should have been. Overall the report highlights the following concerns:

  • poor access to information and a lack of transparency
  • weak civil society engagement
  • a state-centric conceptual framework
  • non-inclusive follow-up structures

The report argues that the Kenyan government seems to have seen the APRM as another part of its state-centric reform strategy, using the APRM as a glue to hold together existing reform programmes rather than the blueprint based upon a national debate on governance that the APRM process was supposed to generate.

The report recommends that, in order to make the process more inclusive, the Government of Kenya and civil society should:

  • publicise the country self-assessment and give Kenyans a sense of their ownership of the process and the report
  • simplify and adapt the Programme of Action (PoA) for the benefit of local communities
  • hold local forums through CSO networks to keep the PoA on the agenda of the CSOs and the government
  • promote local ownership of the PoA and ensure that the government links PoA implementation to existing local initiatives in order to avoid duplication of efforts
  • lobby the government to commit adequate funds for implementation of the PoA
  • develop standardised tools for participatory monitoring and evaluation
  • lobby to expand the use of APRM beyond the executive arm of government, for example, through pressure to involve the Kenyan parliament in implementation of the PoA
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