Nairobi, June14, 2017/…..International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) welcomes the holding of the national conference to deliberate on Kenya’s preparedness for August 2017 election.
While this is a good gesture, the conference has so far not addressed itself to tackling the underlying structural factors that will undermine the credibility, integrity and transparency of the election. The Conference is further short of interrogating the real issues that will affect the outcome and acceptability of the August election.
Democratic elections play an important role in contributing to durable peace, reconciliation and development. The holding of regular, inclusive and transparent elections is vital for credible democratic governance. Crucial to the success of any electoral process is the political environment in which elections take place and creating conducive environment involves working closely with a wide range of stakeholders.
We urge that in this pre-electoral period, the rule of law and human rights are respected and that state arrangements respect Constitutional provisions in order to build truly inclusive and resilient constitutional democracy, the foundation for durable economic and social development.
It has often been stated that elections in and of themselves do not make a democracy. However, free and fair elections are a necessary part of a healthy democracy. A country where elections fall short of being free and fair and where the voice of the people is not heard simply cannot be considered a democracy.
Moreover, technically well-run polling does not mean that the election process is democratic; a genuine electoral process also requires an open pre-election environment in which citizens can participate fully, political parties can operate freely, independent media can flourish, and an independent electoral management body operates without interference, efficiently and effectively.
We can all talk peace but it is ingredients. Peace is not abstract. Talking peace is hollow without addressing both the trigger and structural causes of the electoral related violence.
We are deeply concerned on poorly planned and low degree of transparency in electoral preparations and the technical, logistical issues hampering the administration of a credible and transparent election. We reiterate that troubled election risks undermining political and economic progress in Kenya.
ICPC notes that there is significant progress that IEBC has made within the limited time available. However, we express deep concern and disappointment that preparations for the elections has not followed the Constitution 2010 and recommendations of the Kriegler report to improve conditions for democratic elections especially on voters registration, credibility of voters' rolls, integrity of ICT use, procurement of electoral materials, declaration of final results and partisan role of public officials and security organs in electoral process.
Unregulated campaign financing, use of public resources and clearing of election’s candidates with dubious integrity questions has further significantly undermined the electoral process. These matters undermine the authenticity of elections and require a demonstration of will to end the pattern of deficient elections.
We strongly call on the people of Kenya and genuine friends of Kenya to accept nothing short of internationally accepted standards of electoral credibility, fairness and transparency. We urge the government of Kenya to take definitive steps to ensure the free and full exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in connection with electoral processes and promote a political atmosphere that is truly conducive to democratic electoral processes.
Executive Director, ICPC.