An evaluation of the Electoral Commission of Kenya's implementation of electoral activities prior and during the 2007 general elections
Vwamu, Joan M
MetadataShow full item record
It is important to recognize the challenges of elections management. There are underlying factors that affects the process, and in judging the conduct of an election by an Electoral Management Body (EMB), all these factors should be considered. Principles of independence, impartiality, integrity, transparency, efficiency, professionalism and service-mindedness should be adhered to by EMBs to increase chances of conducting transparent, free and fair elections. The Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) was the EMB mandated to conduct and supervise election activities in Kenya until December 2008 when it was disbanded through an Act of Parliament following disputed presidential elections during the 2007 general elections in Kenya. This research was intended to evaluate to what extent the ECK embraced the said principles and what consequences and challenges it encountered in delivering professionally managed free and fair elections as it was required to. This was done through evaluating the level of independence attained as it implemented its mandate; establishing the level of transparency, impartiality and integrity embraced during the implementation of electoral activities; examining the extend of service-mindedness and professionalism exhibited as they serve the stakeholders and finally evaluating the level of efficiency and effectiveness achieved in delivering its mandate. The researcher interviewed former ECK employees and other stakeholders who participated in the 2007 general elections. These included the election observers who observed the 2007 general elections, political party representatives, media and Non Governmental Organizations that dealt with Elections and Democracy. This was done by subjecting questionnaires to the identified respondents. From the fmdings it was evidenced that the level of independence was influenced by several factors among them political appointment of commissioners and lack of financial autonomy. The level of transparency in recruitment and political party nominations was wanting while the integrity of the electoral process was undermined by the misuse of state resources by the government of the day and electoral malpractices. Through the election officials were seen to be impartial and service minded at the polling stations, the research indicated that the level of professionalism was affected by the fact that some officials lacked the electoral skills. The research recommended that for commissioners to be appointed at the commission they should undergo a competitive recruitment; the commission should conduct its activities transparently, guarantee the voters the right to vote or be candidate, secret ballot have transparent rules of recruitment and always ensure gender equality during recruitment or nominations. There should also be set roles and responsibilities for all the election officials and the commission should set service delivery standards to ensure good performance. All the electoral projects should be monitored and evaluated to ensure efficiency and effectiveness as this would improve on the implementation of the electoral activities. Finally it is evidenced from the research that it is very important for EMBs to embrace project management principles and skills while implementing the electoral activities. This is because the electoral activities are finite and they have a specific start and completion date just like projects.