Nairobi, Kenya – Today, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) completed their second joint pre-election assessment mission and released a Pre-Election Statement of findings and recommendations for Kenya’s August 9th elections.
Conducted from June 27 to July 1, this delegation represents an important component of the NDI/IRI joint Kenya International Election Observation Mission and included regional and election experts from Africa and North America. This delegation was comprised of His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria, Ms. Babra Bhebe-Dube, Executive Director of the Election Resource Centre of Zimbabwe; Mr. Lionel C. Johnson, NDI board member and former U.S. diplomat; Ms. Julia Brothers, NDI Senior Advisor for Elections; and Mr. Gregory Kearns, IRI Africa Regional Director.
The NDI/IRI pre-election assessment mission expresses its gratitude to the Kenyan government for welcoming international observers. During the week-long assessment, the delegation met with presidential candidates, government officials, election authorities, media, representatives of civil society, and the international community.
The delegation recognizes that, ultimately, it will be the people of Kenya who determine the credibility of their elections. IRI and NDI therefore offer this pre-election statement in the spirit of supporting and strengthening democratic institutions and accountability in Kenya.
The NDI/IRI delegation recognizes some positive developments initiated by electoral stakeholders – some of which followed the recommendations of the May 2022 IRI/NDI pre-election statement – that are contributing to an enhanced electoral environment.
According to the statement, some of the significant opportunities that could still be improved ahead of the August 9 polls include conducting additional results management system tests, accelerating voter education efforts throughout the country with a focus on election day procedures and the immediate post-election process, and prioritizing strategic and regular communications with the media and the public, including provision of clear, responsive and timely information regarding all aspects of the electoral process.
"Despite noticeable issues associated with the conduct of elections in the past, the political, civic actors and institutions in the country remain resilient, and the electoral process continues to adapt and evolve from past challenges," stated H.E. President Goodluck Jonathan.
Based on consultations over the past week, the delegation’s statement provides recommendations for the IEBC, the police, other government bodies, candidates, political parties, civil society organizations, and the media.
The delegation’s most salient recommendations called for extensive voter education and public outreach focused on electoral procedures and in particular results transmission, tabulation and certification; concerted efforts to preempt and reduce election related disinformation and violence against women online; a public commitment by party leaders and candidates to peaceful campaigns; and a countrywide load test of the entire results management system to garner an accurate estimate of how long the process will take, address any unexpected challenges, and avoid surprises on election night.
"All stakeholders, especially political parties and the IEBC, must work together to promote tolerance, peaceful elections, and respect for historically marginalized groups – including rejecting violence against women in elections,” remarked Ms. Babra Bhebe-Dube, Executive Director of the Election Resource Centre of Zimbabwe.
The joint IRI-NDI delegation would like to express its sincere appreciation for the warm welcome they received in Kenya, as well as for the time taken by civic and political stakeholders to participate in the pre-election assessment and provide significant feedback.
NDI and IRI are nonpartisan, nongovernmental, nonprofit organizations that support and strengthen democratic institutions and practices worldwide. The Institutes have collectively observed more than 200 elections in more than 50 countries over the past 30 years. In Kenya, the IRI-NDI mission conducts its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct adopted at the United Nations in 2005 and will base its findings on international standards for elections. All activities are conducted on a strictly nonpartisan basis and without interfering in the election process.