STATEMENT ON KENYA GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE WITH CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE UPCOMING 2017 ELECTIONS

There is great demand for civic and voter education in preparation for 2017 Elections

Recent attacks by Kenya government on civil society organisations offering civic education and urgent  amendment of electoral laws by government-side legislators is worrying.

These actions are bringing unnecessary national tensions and uncertainty as the country prepares for the upcoming 2017 general elections.  

Civic education, part and parcel of the electoral process

We call upon the government to appreciate the role played by international and local partners in informing and educating Kenyans on electoral process. Since multiparty democracy was introduced in Kenya, civic education has been part and parcel of elections preparedness. 

Article 38 of the Constitution affirms political rights of Kenyans.  Among other things, it says “every citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections based on universal suffrage and the free expression of the will of the electors for” any elective public body.

The purported association of civic education to foreign interference is hypocritical of the government that immensely depend on foreign missions to run health, education, security, environment, development and economic programs. 

Technology failures triggered 2017 post-election violence

Studies from the 2007 elections, indicates that technology failure was one of the main triggers of post-election violence.  

Similarly in 2013, The Carter Center assessment recommended that the goal of securing more credible election results can all be served by advance planning and implementation of a complete electronic results management system.

It is therefore unfortunate for the Jubilee side of parliament to repeat similar mistakes of allowing manual transmission of election results, when majority of Kenyans are demanding for uncompromised technology.  

We therefore call upon the government

  1. To desist from direct interference of the country's electoral preparation since is an interested party and competitor.  
  2. Rescind its decision  of banning civic education that has been part of Kenyan's electoral process.  Only sit-tight dictators can censor civil society and international donors committed to support Kenyans to have credible, fair and free elections.
  3. Government to hold urgent electoral stakeholders convention to affirm its commitment towards holding credible, fair, free and peaceful 2017 elections.  

We  call upon the foreign partners and local implementing partners  

  1. To be firm and proceed with civic education programs aimed at empowering Kenyans to make informed decisions in electing their leaders. Support voter  and electoral education for Kenyans to fully participate in the electoral process.  Kenyans are looking for your support. 

We  call upon the Kenyans   

  1. To demand for credible, fair, free and peaceful 2017 elections.  

END

Supporting Statements:

  1. Heads of Mission in Kenya on International Support for Kenya’s 2017 Elections 
  2. U.S. Ambassador Robert F. Godec 
  3. Kenyan Civil Society Organizations 
  4. IFES Kenya
  5. United Nations Support to the Electoral Process in Kenya

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