Chapter 6: Political engagement deficit in sustainable governance of cities in East Africa
This chapter examines political engagement and sustainable governance of cities in East Africa using selected participation variables from Afrobarometer (AB) citizens’ perceptions survey data1 of 2011. Political participation is embedded in the broad field of public participation which includes political, social and moral participation (Berger, 2009), all contributing to democratic governance. Political participation is conceptualized using Ekman and Amna’s (2012) definition which includes ‘civic engagement’ and social involvement, and Teorell et al.’s (2007) extensive five-dimension typology. Although debates exist on the concept of civic engagement (Putnam, 1993; Tolbert et al., 1998; Skocpol and Morris, 1999; Norris, 2002; Teorell et al., 2007), a number of scholars, for example Portney (2005), argue that public participation is at the centre of sustainable development, and sustainability is a matter for ordinary citizens. Citizens’ perceptions of the quality of services being provided by those mandated with responsibility, and trust in leaders, are important elements which have an influence in the level and quality of participation for sustainable development in cities. It is in line with this that UN-HABITAT, in its Global Campaign on Urban Governance, appreciates the concept of governance as opposed to government. Governance is an embracing concept which exists inside and outside the formal authority and institutions of government, including government, the private sector and civil society. A governance framework emphasizes ‘process’ and the complex relationship between many actors with different relationships and priorities (UN-HABITAT, 2002).
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