Data-driven democracy: Kenya's journey towards inclusive governance

Director Sakefa Group Kelvin Mutiso. [Courtesy]

The dedication to accuracy, identification, and resource equality is driving Kenya’s quest for inclusive governance as it embarks on a digital journey, marking a significant step towards a data-driven democracy where almost every action is “moved, operated or controlled” by data which, ideally, means more efficiencies.

However, President William Ruto’s commitment to documenting citizens for enhanced service delivery marks a pivotal moment in Kenya’s journey towards inclusive governance. To attain a data-driven democracy, it is beneficial to utilise technology. Decisions can be made quickly because of the transparent communication that a healthy data culture allows.

First, the president’s emphasis on accurate citizen data underscores a recognition that, effective governance relies on the precision of information. Implementing an extensive vital statistics system becomes crucial to building a more responsive and citizen-focused administration in Kenya as it prepares for the challenges of the new digital era.

To ensure that no citizen is invisible to the state, there is a need to register all births and deaths. Accurate information on essential citizen attributes is paramount for the sensible allocation of resources. Therefore, this action goes beyond mere data collection; it promises a more equitable distribution of resources, promoting inclusion across all sectors.

Additionally, President Ruto’s call for African national identity management agencies to collaborate signifies an acknowledgement of the interconnectedness of identity in the digital age.

Kenya aims to be a leader in cutting-edge identity management systems that not only benefit its residents but also encourage the continent to adopt more advanced democratic practices by promoting regional cooperation and knowledge sharing.

Also, Kenya looks beyond its borders as it navigates the fork in the road towards inclusive governance, realising that creating a strong identity infrastructure is not only a national requirement but also a shared obligation in the global arena.

Ultimately, the fusion of technology and governance in Kenya’s journey implies a dedication to a future in which reliable data supports democracy. Despite limited resources, President Ruto’s commitment to identity management reflects a call for an inclusive, digitally-driven governance.

- The author is the Director, the Sakefa Group