Ensure electoral integrity to help stem malpractices
SEE ALSO :We’re a regional economic powerhouseElection laws cannot solve Kenya’s democracy because perpetrators employ various tactics to overcome laws, regulations and practices designed to stop fraud. We need a more holistic approach that involves investigation, understanding and addressing the opportunities for tactics of fraud employed by the political class either through coercion, bribing or other mechanisms. We should establish a strong electoral integrity system. These electoral integrity systems which could include but not limited to non-governmental organisations, the media, observation groups, law enforcers must be empowered to counter check on the performance of the electoral body. This should involve allowing the electoral integrity agents to publish independent results of the elections as they are announced. Although this can only be undertaken by the international community through the UN and other multilateral agencies which provides for it, it is also important to at the national level specify the role of observer missions. Election observation is a valuable tool for improving the quality of elections by helping build confidence of the public in the honesty of the electoral process. Specifically finding a balance between their role in ensuring the elections are done according to law and the thin line of sovereignty/domestic interference which often bring to doubt their effectiveness. The international community needs to redefine the role of observer mission to suit the newly changing electoral environments. For example the use of technology in elections has been widely adopted, its therefore important that observer missions have capacity to interrogate the technical aspects of elections which are more prone for political interference. The much focus of electoral integrity must be focused holistically around the idea of independence of the electoral body. It is only an electoral body that is independent of political interference that can deliver an electoral integrity that meets the aspirations of democracy. If the elections stakeholders cannot find the answer to this then irrespective of the many laws changed or the many bodies created there will never be proper elections. [email protected]
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