The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) have finished conducting a Pre-Election Assessment Mission (PEAM) as part of their overall observation of Kenya’s 2022 general elections.
The pre-election assessment which began on May 16 and ended on May 20, 2022, made some interesting recommendations ahead of Kenya’s polls slated for August 9, 2022.
Among the recommendations, the delegation urged Kenya’s Government to ensure timely financial transfers to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure effective preparations, including voter education campaigns.
It further urged the Kenyan Parliament to urgently address the issue of pending electoral law amendments – either expediting their review or stating no further reforms will be entertained prior to the August polls to remove confusion or suspicion of attempts to manipulate the process.
The assessment delegation comprised Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana; James Lahai, the National Coordinator of National Election Watch (Sierra Leone); Nicole Rowsell, Acting Vice President of the National Democratic Institute (USA); and Yomi Jacobs, Resident Program Director of the International Republican Institute in Kenya (Nigeria).
The delegation conducted its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, which was launched in 2005 at the United Nations, and in compliance with the laws of the Republic of Kenya. All activities were conducted on a strictly nonpartisan basis and without interfering in the election process. The delegation met with a wide array of election stakeholders, including the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), political parties, civil society, business associations, media representatives, religious leaders, the judiciary, and government actors. The delegation expresses its appreciation to everyone with whom it met for sharing insights from which the mission benefited greatly.
IRI and NDI are nonpartisan, nongovernmental, nonprofit organizations that support and strengthen democratic institutions and practices worldwide. The Institutes have collectively observed more than 200 elections in more than 50 countries over the past 30 years. NDI and IRI will conduct a second pre-election assessment mission to assess progress toward key recommendations before Kenya’s general elections are scheduled for August 9, 2022.
The delegation also urged IEBC to build trust among the electoral contestants and public confidence in the electoral process and also develop and disseminate a clear methodology with appropriate safeguards on the collation, transmission, and declaration of results.
The delegation further urged all political actors to demonstrate commitment to ensuring peace before, during, and after elections, by publicly endorsing and adhering to the electoral code of conduct, and other peace pledges.
“Refrain from hate speech, cyberbullying, and inciting violence by supporters, including gender-based violence, and cooperate with institutions to investigate incidents,” the mission advised in a statement.
The Kenyan media was also urged to Provide election coverage in accordance with the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism and Offer the use of their platforms for civic and voter education programs and information.
“Provide coverage of candidate debates, to inform citizens and promote an issue-based campaign,” it further advised.