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Role of Election Monitors/ Observers in the upcoming Kenyan elections


Daniel Maithya, founder of RoyalTrendia has partnered with National Coalition of Human Rights defenders in Kenya to run a Twitter chat dubbed #CredibleElectionKE to educate Kenyans in the electioneering process with the main focus on election observers and monitors. It is every citizens’ right to take part and to be informed fully on public affairs. It is also their right to vote and to stand as a viable candidate to be voted for.

For an effective participation in the electoral process, rights such as the freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of movement, freedom from discrimination, freedom of association, freedom from fear and intimidation have to be observed and respected. Transparency during elections is vital to citizens. There should be a free media environment to ensure free communication of information and ideas from the government to the public. This promotes peace and builds trust among the citizens.

The Human Rights Officers should also be involved in the electoral process. Their role is to ensure that the human rights are observed and that any violation and abuse related to the electoral process is intervened for correction action. Human Rights Officers should associate with other external officers to engage with a variety of national and international actors involved in different capabilities in the electoral process. This partnership also ensures effective efforts in monitoring and greater coverage of the elections. They should consider the issues of gender where the women and men are able to equally exercise their right to political participation.

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Last week we covered the topic on the role of Election Monitors/ Observers in the upcoming elections. The Election Observers are approved by the Kenyan Constitution in Sections 104, 105 and 106 of chapter eleven. They are meant to perform the following functions:
• Be present at every stage of polling, sorting and counting; and at every opening and closing of ballot boxes.
• Make surprise visits to various polling, sorting and counting centers.
• Monitor the polling, sorting and counting procedures.
• Examine the individuals in charge of the polling, sorting and counting procedures to ensure that they are respecting the Act and the regulations.
• Promote the freedom and fairness of elections in line with respecting the secrecy of the polling and counting. Later, they should write a report to that effect as shall be specified by the law.

Keep in mind that the election observers should not interfere with the election process. Their work is to observe and make reports on the electoral process. However they are allowed to pose verbal or written questions to the election officials.

In a nut shell, the Observers’ activities include monitoring the legislative framework, election administration, the registration of candidates and political parties, voter registration, election campaign, media, women’s participation in elections, participation of persons from minority communities, observing voting, observing the vote count and tabulation and the post-election observation during the announcement of results and the implementation of election results.

By: Angiee Hinga

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