Perspectives of Kenyan Students in the United States on E-government and Citizen Participation

Jane Wangari Njuru

Abstract


Lack of accountability and transparency in the public sector and poor citizens’ participation in the public policy processes are among the main challenges facing Kenya today. Although e-government is known to be effective in redressing such challenges, little is known about the extent to which it could accelerate reforms in the public administration in Kenya. The purpose of this research was to bridge this knowledge gap by examining the potential of e-government to increase citizens’ participation in the public policy process, thereby enhancing public service delivery in Kenya. Tools of e-government examined included online voting, contributing to political campaigns, and reading Kenyan news. The study employed a quantitative survey design using a random sample of 600 Kenyan students in the United States. Barber’s direct democratic theory and Rogers’s innovation diffusion theory supported the study. One-way ANOVA was used to test for differences based on gender, level of education, and number of years lived in the United States. A key finding of the study is that Kenyan female students are more inclined to use e-government than the male students. The study also found a positive relationship among the use of e-government, level of education, and years lived in the United States. The findings provide a significant resource for Kenyan policy-makers, government officials, and students interested in tapping the benefits and opportunities of e-government. The research also provides a reference framework for scholars interested in conducting similar studies in other Sub-Sahara African countries. The study has significant social change implications because it offers evidence-based justification to Kenyan policy-makers, researchers, and students on the potential of using technology to increase transparency and accountability in the public sector.

Key Words: Democratic governance, diaspora, digital divide, digital government, e- democracy, e-government, e-readiness, government accountability, ICTs, online services, public policy, public service delivery, and transparency.

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