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The electoral commission and civil societies’ role before the August 8 polls

UREPORT
By Mwari Maina, Nyeri | May 9th 2017

The political party primaries saw a rise in the number of spoilt votes. In a polling station in Central Kenya for example, more than 2,000 votes were declared spoilt. This is alarming. It beats logic for a voter to spend a whole day queuing only for his/her vote to be declared invalid.

Adequate campaigns should be done on ballot papers by making voters familiar with them, mainly to show their structure and how they should be marked to reduce the number of spoilt votes.

The electoral commission and civil society organisations have a role to play on civic education before the August 8 polls to enhance democracy and truly reflect the voice of the majority. The hypothesis that civic education does not influence election results needs to be rejected.

 

Kenya has been seeking donors’ assistance to conduct free, fair, peaceful, and credible elections. Since 2010, the electoral agency has used a lot of resources to conduct civic education and has been seeking supplementary funding from foreign donors to support NGOs. Civic education encourages the virtues that dispose citizens positively to the ideals and principals of democracy.

It is a means of educating citizens on social, economic, and political issues impacting the lives of citizens and informs the people of their specific societal roles. If also involves convincing the electorate of the need to register as voters and the importance of turning up to vote for their preferred candidates. Civic education helps citizens to interpret other variables such as economic growth based on development and the devastating effects of corruption.

 

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