Kenya adopted reforms to allow independent monitoring of electoral processes

Submitted by: National Democratic Institute for International Affairs

Following the 2007-2008 electoral tragedy in Kenya that left over 1,000 people dead and 600,000 displaced in a conflict over presidential election results that were neither sufficiently transparent nor effectively administered, a new constitution was adopted in Kenya along with electoral and judicial reforms.  The reforms led to enhanced transparency provisions allowing parties, citizen observers, media and international observers to monitor electoral processes.

The reforms also led to an open and inclusive process for appointing members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Appointments of the chairperson and eight members of the IEBC are done through a multi-staged process that involves the President, a Selection Panel and the National Assembly. The Selection Panel is responsible for advertising the positions, public interviews and shortlisting of candidates, who are in turn approved by the National Assembly and appointed by the President. The procedure for the appointment process is regulated by the Constitution of Kenya and the IEBC Act.

The IEBC receives its budget independently from the legislature and is constitutionally mandated as an independent body with specific review by the courts. Though Kenya has yet to pass a freedom of information law, the Article 35(1) of Constitution of Kenya guarantees every citizen the right to access to information held by the state, and state-established institutions, such as the IEBC.

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