6, July, 2016

Horizontal Accountability of the Executive to the Legislature in Africa: A Case Study of Kenya

This paper assesses the legislative, representative, financial control and oversight roles played by parliaments in Africa, with Kenya as the main case study in a context of accountability.

The need to strengthen accountability is premised on the importance of having checks and mechanisms for parliaments to exercise their representative, legislative and oversight functions in a manner that ensures the prevention of abuse of power and subjects the Executive bodies to processes that open up their activities to public scrutiny with the possibility that in case they overstep their mandates they can be subjected to sanctions. The paper examines gaps in accountability and the factors that sustain those gaps. The regional focus includes all the countries of East Africa; and Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda for a more detailed regional overview, with Kenya as the main case study.

The main question addressed in this paper is: what are the determinants of the low performance of horizontal accountability mechanisms in Africa in general and in Kenya in particular? The main hypothesis is that in Africa in general and in Kenya in particular, the low performance of horizontal accountability mechanisms results from deficits in legislative and Executive capacities, as well as a lack of incentives for both branches of power on the one hand, and the complex interplay between formal and informal institutions on the other. To confirm this, the researchers examined a number of horizontal accountability mechanisms and assessed the extent to which these effectively work.


Paschal Mihyo

Herman Musahara

Truphena E. Mukuna

The authors work at OSSREA, Ethiopia

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