n Journal of Public Administration - Forging democracy from below : the challenges and imperatives of crafting community participation and engagement




Infused in the context of the democratic epoch, public or community participation becomes the through which the notion of democracy qualifies to be . The available evidence from the literature, point out that by engaging the citizens in matters of governance, not only that there could be a panacea for looming (Gaventa, 2004; Luckham , 2000), but people could also be afforded an opportunity to exercise their democratic right to influence decisions through their active partaking in the democratic elected structures' activities particularly those in the local government sphere.

In this article, the authors argue that the struggle for forging democracy from below requires conscientised, multi-skilled and empowered municipal officials, citizens and communities, if local government is to be transformed to proactively and effectively serve the diverse needs and challenges in partnerships with the people. It is evident from the discussion that municipal officials still feel comfortable performing functions the way they used to do before the democratic dispensation. Such mindsets inhibit constructive dialogue with communities. Hence the dream of ensuring people's governance and people centred development are not realised. The question to be asked is therefore a panacea to community participation and engagement?


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