Reviewing and Consolidating Electoral Laws in Kenya
The quest to reform and consolidate the electoral and related laws in Kenya has been ongoing for a very long period of time. Indeed, the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) and the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) have been engaged in the exercise of reforming and consolidating electoral laws for over ten years now and in that, regard developed a Draft Elections Bill 1996, aimed at consolidating and codifying all the electoral laws in Kenya. The Draft Elections Bill 1996 formed the basis and substance of the work of the Technical Committee in the process of developing the Draft Elections Bill 2007.
IED's involvement in this process can be traced to September 2003, under a USAID funded project on aimed at strengthening representation and good governance in Kenya. The project amongst other things was geared towards; Reviewing and consolidating Electoral Laws; Under this project, IED in collaboration with ECK, KLRC, the Attorney General Chamber and Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Reform identified and consolidated Laws relating to electoral the legal and administrative framework in light of the proposed constitutional changes. Consequently, the Technical committee on the Electoral reforms held various consultative meeting culminating in the drafting Elections Bill 2007.
IED in partnership with Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) with support from USAID/PACT Inc, held a 2 day Technical Workshop to Review the draft Elections Bill 2007 and the draft ECK Bill 2005 on the 17th to 20th November 2008.
The objective of the workshop was to revisit the two draft Bills in light of the Kreigler and Waki recommendations and make neccessary ammendments and adjustments.The Bills will then be subjected to a wider stakeholders forum to fine tune them before they can be presented to the AG to forward them to parliament for debate.
The workshop report was finalised and is available in IED's library. Planning for a validation workshop is underway with final draft Bills expected by mid-July 2009
Summary Recommendations From Plenary
- More research and study needs to be done to understand the proposed integrated registration system.
The new EMB should have five Commissioners with the Chair and the Vice Chair being permanent employees while the other three Commissioners should serve on a part time basis.
Commissioners should have relevant experience in electoral and governance matters, human rights and gender among other professional qualifications.
The Commissioners should serve for a seven year non-renewable term.
The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer should be selected through a competitive process by the Commissioners. Once appointed, the appointee then becomes a Commissioner and serves as the Board Secretary. Other members of staff, depending on their seniority, should be appointed by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Commissioners while others can be appointed by the Chief Executive in consultation with other senior officials.
The Elections Bill should have provisions that enable party agents to effectively monitor and observe elections on the voting day.
Dispute resolution mechanisms proposed in the Political Parties Act and in the Kriegler report should be studied at to ensure that the tribunals to be set up are assigned specific roles to prevent duplicity.
National Conference on Promoting Issue -Based Campaigns:
Fostering an Electoral Environment Conducive For Peaceful, Free and Fair Elections
On the 31st October -1st November 2007 IED in collaboration with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy hosted a National conference that brought together key players in the electoral process at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi. The opening remarks were made by the Hon. Amos Wako Attorney General Republic of Kenya and the Key Note address was by Mr. Samuel Kivuitu Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK)
The purpose of this conference is to promote issue-based campaigns thus fostering an electoral environment conducive for peaceful, free and fair elections. The specific workshop objectives were;
Supporting the creation of a conducive electoral process and environment in Kenya in the run-up to the 2007 general elections.
Supporting the realization of democratic, peaceful, credible, free and fair elections in 2007 in Kenya.
To encourage all stakeholders to undertake their roles with professional integrity
The conference themes were on:
Management and observation of elections;
Role of the media in the electoral process;
Equity and political participation; and
At the end of the workshop participants make key short term, medium tram and long term recommendations aimed at improvement of the electoral environment in Kenya.
Electoral Laws Reform Draft Retreat Workshop
IED participated in the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) sponsored Electoral Laws Reform Drafters retreat workshop in Mombasa at the North Coast Beach Hotel from the 23rd-27th March 2010. The workshop brought together all the Electoral Law reforms technical working committee partners (KLRC, IIEC, MOJNC&CA and IED) who have been involved in the consultative forums in the consolidation and drafting of the draft Elections bill 2009, the draft Electoral Commission bill 2009 and the Referendum regulations 2010.