The objectives of the forum were i) to share with relevant institutions, the observations, findings and recommendations from recent by-elections; ii) to discuss, enrich and commence preparations on the adoption of recommendations aimed at improving the management and administration of upcoming elections and iii) to develop a road map of required administrative and legal reforms within the current electoral cycle.
The forum saw over 40 representatives from civil society organizations, the Judiciary, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, National Police Service, Political Parties Disputes Tribunal, the National Registration Bureau and Political Parties attend and participate in the electoral discourse. Notably, Ms. Lilian Mahiri-Zaja (Vice Chairperson, IEBC), Ms. Lucy Ndungú (Registrar of political parties), Mr. Mohamed Alawi (Commissioner, IEBC), Ms. Grace Maingi (Executive Director, Uraia Trust), Mr. Justice Luka Kimaru (Judge, High Court), Mrs. Susan Mwongera (CEO, Youth Agenda), Ms. Tryphaena Estambale ( CEO, Political Parties Dispute Tribunal), Ms. Anne Nderitu ( Director, Voter education and Partnerships, IEBC), Ms. Immaculate Kassait (Director, Voter Registration and Electoral Operation, IEBC) graced the Forum.
The forum entailed presentations by key experts followed by plenary discussions. To this end, Mr. Oloo led a presentation and a discussion on the gaps in the electoral legislation and the role the courts play in the electoral process while highlighting the importance of dispute resolution mechanisms and electoral jurisprudence emanating from the supreme court; Mr. Mike Yard – the Chief of Party-IFES, highlighted the issue of technology in elections with a focus on what technology can and can’t do during elections; Ms. Grace Maingi, underscored strategies on the implementation of the 2/3 gender rule; Ms. Lucy Ndungú highlighted and reiterated the role political parties play in elections with a focus on the challenges political parties faced during the 2013 general elections as well as the way forward; Ms. Carol Werunga of KHRC, underscored the human rights perspective in elections with a focus on the political participation of persons with disabilities; and Ms. Susan Mwongera highlighted the challenges youth faced during the 2013 electioneering period. Lastly, IEBC was able to share their strategies that will see them deal with the challenges around voter registration, party lists, nominations, dispute resolution, the participation of special interest groups in electoral processes, voter education and the use of technology in the electoral process.
As a result of the forum, a comprehensive report, highlighting, among other things, a road map that identifies key issues, strategies, timelines and responsibilities is being developed and will be shared with all participants for validation before being shared with other stakeholders.