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NDI

The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Kenya

Kenya Referundum 2005 (queue)

NDI has supported Kenyan efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and advance democratic reforms since 1993. Programs initially provided skills training to women interested in politics and worked with nonpartisan civic groups to monitor elections. Since 2001, NDI and its local partners have benefitted from the support of various donors, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kingdom of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the British Department for International Development (DFID), and the British Foreign Office.

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Political Situation

On March 4, 2013, a record 12 million Kenyans participated peacefully in the first elections since post-election violence in 2007 and 2008 resulted in 1,500 deaths and the displacement of more than 600,000. Despite some flaws in the electoral process, domestic and international election observers characterized the polls as mostly credible. The elections marked the first polls since the passage of a new constitution in August 2010, which introduced sweeping changes to the political system, including the creation of a new devolved system of government that transfers authority for many government functions from the national level to 47 newly created counties; reduced presidential powers; the introduction of a bicameral system; the introduction of majority and minority parties in the national assembly; a more defined separation of powers between the three branches of government; electoral reforms; a restructured judiciary; security sector and land reforms; affirmative action for under-represented groups; and an expanded bill of rights.

Many political and logistical obstacles will have to be overcome to ensure the successful implementation of the constitution and associated legislation, especially during the transition to devolved government. The success of devolution in Kenya will depend on the extent to which political leaders understand and respond to citizens’ concerns, share information freely, solicit feedback about their own performance, and respect the rights of minority populations. While progress has been made to provide some of the necessary foundations for devolution, the post-election period has been marked by political polarization, and the transition is now taking place amid controversies over the roles and responsibilities of the devolved government structures. Still, a majority of Kenyans remain optimistic that devolution will address many of their most deep-seated political, social, and economic grievances; however, the ongoing disagreements may temper these expectations.

Political Parties

Ahead of the March 2013 elections, NDI helped Kenya’s major political parties build consensus on issues of national importance, engage in dialogue with each other and the election commission, comply with the new constitution, and enhance their ability to represent citizens’ interests. NDI’s assistance has helped political parties improve their understanding of the needs and priorities of Kenyan citizens to develop representative, issue-based policy platforms.

NDI has contributed to the constitutional implementation process by supporting the participation of political parties and civil society organizations in discussions on what should be included in new legislation being debated in parliament. The Institute supported improved communications between political party leadership and the electoral commission during the reform process through the creation of political party liaison committees (PPLC). The PPLCs have been established nationally and in each of the 47 counties and provide a venue for regular dialogue on contentious issues during constitutional implementation and the 2013 electoral process.

In the post-election period, NDI is working with parties at the national and county level to improve their ability to represent the interests of constituents, strengthen internal party democracy through the development of county level party branches, support political parties to implement reforms in line with the transition to devolution, and facilitate inter-party cooperation and dialogue.

Women and Youth Participation

Kenya’s new constitution includes a number of provisions to encourage the inclusion of traditionally marginalized groups in political and electoral processes. NDI is providing assistance to domestic civil society organizations and political parties to encourage compliance with the new constitution and enhance participation of these groups.

NDI supported the formation of the Inter-Party Youth Forum (IPYF) in 2009 to provide a national platform to promote constructive, peaceful political participation among youth across party lines. IPYF, the first organization of its kind in Kenya, brings together youth representatives from all major political parties, and enjoys the strong support and encouragement of party leadership. At the 2012 IPYF national youth conference in Nairobi, 950 young people pledged to uphold peace and tolerance leading up to March 2013 polls. With NDI assistance, IPYF has created a secretariat at the national level, conducted outreach activities reaching thousands of youth across the country, and launched IPYF branches in 20 counties. In the post-election period, IPYF is focused on helping youth understand their role in devolved government structures, promote cohesion and integration of youth within and across parties, and helping youth conduct advocacy and play a role in policy development at the county level.

NDI is also working to strengthen women’s political participation in electoral and political processes. The Institute helped women candidates share their platforms through radio programs during the nomination period for the March 4 polls. Forty-five of these women were nominated by their political parties and nine went on to be elected. NDI’s Leadership and Campaign Academy (LCA)—created in 2011 to equip potential candidates with the knowledge and skills to run successful campaigns and become strong leaders once elected—has trained 1,688 potential candidates, including more than 700 women. On election day, 50 LCA graduates were elected into office in Kenya. In the post-election period, NDI is providing training and mentorship to newly elected women, and supporting women to form county-level women’s caucuses to create a more effective and representative legislative agenda.

Election Observation

In 2010, NDI partnered with the Kenyan Election Observation Group (ELOG), a coalition of 10 civil society organizations, to strengthen its ability to provide long-term, systematic domestic election monitoring. Ahead of the 2013 polls, NDI supported ELOG to deploy 542 long-term observers to provide analysis and information about the electoral environment in the months before the elections. NDI also worked with ELOG member organizations to conduct monitoring in four thematic areas: women’s participation; campaign finance legislation; politically motivated violence; and auditing and updating of the voter registry.

On election day, with NDI support, ELOG deployed about 1,500 trained, accredited, nonpartisan rapid response monitors to a statistically representative sample of polling stations to conduct a parallel vote tabulation (PVT). During election week, ELOG released statements with information from PVT observers on the opening of polls, the voting process, and the vote tallying process. Following the release of the official election results, ELOG released a final statement verifying that the official results fell within the PVT projected ranges for each candidate.

Contact Information

For more information about these programs, use our contact form or contact:

Washington, D.C.
Alison Paul DeSchryver, senior program manager
(202) 728-5410

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Published Publication Title Author
01/10/2014 Key Gains and Challenges: A Gender Audit of Kenya's 2013 Election Process
Report
Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kenya
01/01/2014 Civic Updates
Civic Update
National Democratic Institute
04/16/2013 Statement of Keith Jennings Before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, "Kenya's 2013 Elections: An Effective Assistance Model?"
Testimony
Keith Jennings
03/09/2013 Official Kenya Election Results are Consistent with ELOG's Parallel Vote Tabulation
Statement
Election Observation Group (ELOG) Kenya
02/08/2013 Kenya Election Manual
Election Manual
NDI
05/05/2012 Statement of the National Democratic Institute Pre-Election Delegation to Kenya
Statement
National Democratic Institute
01/31/2012 Leadership & Campaign Academy Candidates' Manual
Manual
National Democratic Institute
10/27/2010 The Youth Bulge in Africa - Opportunities for Constructive Engagement in the Political Process
Speech
Shari Bryan
12/01/2008 NDI Reports: A Review of the Activities of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
Newsletter
National Democratic Institute
02/29/2008 EALA Workshop Summary
Report
National Democratic Institute
02/27/2008 East African Community - East African Legislative Assembly Workshop Resolution
Report
National Democratic Institute
01/01/2008 Promoting Transparency and Accountability of Revenue of the Extractive Industries: A Workshop for Legislators of the East Africa
Agenda
National Democratic Institute
05/01/2007 Engaging Young People in Politics in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings
Manual|Handbook
David Larson
12/01/2005 NDI 2005 Annual Report
Report
National Democratic Institute
07/01/2005 Party Finance Reform in Africa, Lessons Learned from Four Countries: Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa
Report
National Democratic Institute
03/01/2005 Political Parties to be Funded by the State, CGD Policy Brief, Issue 01/03
Report
Centre for Governance and Development
03/01/2005 Finally, State Funding for Political Parties, CGD Bills Digest, Issue 01/03
Report
Centre for Governance and Development
01/01/2005 Money in Politics: The Case of Party Nominations in Kenya
Report
Centre for Governance and Development
11/01/2002 Electoral Peace Charter
Report
National Democratic Institute
09/04/2002 NDI Election Watch, Kenya 2002 Elections
Newsletter
National Democratic Institute