the President of the Republic of Kenya assented to the Election laws (Amendment) Bill 2016 after its passage by both Houses of Parliament. This has brought into force the Election Laws (Amendment) Act and the Election Offenses Act bringing in a broad range of Electoral Reforms ahead of the 2017 elections. Among the reforms is the requirement for political parties to carry out their nominations at least 60 days to the elections rather than the previously allowed 45 days. The new law also compels politicians to choose their parties at least 90 days to the elections with the Act making it mandatory for parties to submit lists of their members to the IEBC at least 90 days to the date of the General elections. The Act further introduces a new framework for the recruitment of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Commissioners while laying the platform for the exit of the current office bearers.
The Election Campaign Finance Regulation, published by the IEBC in the Gazette in the second week of August, marked the end of the development of the Regulations to put into operation the Election Campaign Finance Act of 2013. This process was initiated by EISA and IEBC with funding under DFID/DAP and continued throughout the various funding cycles. The process was also subjected to numerous multi sectoral discussions before the final drafting of the regulation. The finalization of this law marks yet another important chapter in regulating election finances and implementation of the 2010 Constitution.
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms on 20th July 2016 adopted documents prepared by EISA as part of the background documents for the Committees work.
As a result of EISA Kenya's extensive work on electoral law reform the Committee agreed to retain EISA to offer Advisory role to the Committee until completion of its work. EISA's Audit on the Electoral Laws and Process will guide the committee throughout the process. The Committee will also use the two Electoral Bills as a basis to formulating further reforms and amendments to the Elections Act.
As part of the Election Sector Laws Reforms started after the 2013 elections, EISA in collaboration with the Judiciary, IEBC and the Kenya Law Reforms Commission drafted two legislations that were passed by Parliament, namely; the Election Law Amendment Bill (2015), and the Political Parties Amendment Act (Passed and assented to in April 2016).
EISA Kenya, in partnership with IEBC and UNDP Kenya, convened a workshop for the parliamentary committee on Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC), held on 6th - 9th April 2015 at the Serena Hotel, Mombasa. The objective of the workshop was to build consensus on electoral reforms in Kenya and to present the IEBC and EISA audit reports on the efficacy of the electoral laws in Kenya. In this regard, the presented harmonised (IEBC and EISA) recommendations sought to amend: electoral dispute resolution; ICT and elections; Political Parties Liaison (PPLC) regulations; voter registration and campaign financing Act. Specific amendments that were discussed and proposed included amendment of the law to expressly provide for the Court of Appeal to deal with interlocutory applications in order to overhaul the challenges in the dispute resolution processes (dispute resolution) and a review of the provisions of Section 38 of political parties Act and the IEBC Act to provide clear operational frameworks between ORPP, PPLC and IEBC for the separation of powers and definition of exclusive mandates (PPLC regulations).
EISA continued its partnership with the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparedness (JWCEP), convening a stakeholder consultative forum on EDR on the 24th April 2015 at the Panafric Hotel, Nairobi bringing together representatives from all registered political parties in Kenya, IEBC, Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT), Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC), National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC), Kenya Law Reforms Commission (KLRC), Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the JWCEP.
The workshop presented the judicial sector recommendations to the various stakeholders for their input and consensus building. Accordingly, the participants critically analysed the Judiciary's views and proposals on improving EDR in Kenya and gave recommendations for the improvement of the presented proposals for reform. In particular, the political parties provided clarity on contentious issues related to the nomination process and party lists and together with the other stakeholders agreed on various recommendations in line with the presented thematic areas. Recommendations included a proposal for extension for resolution of the presidential petitions from 14 to 30 days; for the IEBC to cede the arbiter mandate in political parties' nomination process to the PPDT; reduction of the amount of security for costs preferably to Ksh. 100,000 and development of party nominations and party lists at least three months before elections
EISA in partnership with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Kenya Law Reforms Commission (KLRC) convened a legislative drafting retreat.
The retreat aimed at drafting the proposed amendments to the election sector laws was held on 29th July - 1st August 2015 in NakuruParticipants were drawn from the three institutions and they succeeded in development of the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2015 which has since been presented to the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.
On 11th February 2014, EISA in partnership with the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) launched the Case Digest: Decisions of the IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee, 2014.
The Digest documents all the cases that were handled by the Tribunal and will go a long way in enhancing the work of the Tribunal as well as isolating legal and electoral jurisprudential issues that will be crucial in strengthening the political parties dispute resolution mechanism in Kenya. The Tribunal was established via the Political parties work with a mandate to adjudicate disputes within and among parties and coalitions.
The guest of honour was the Hon JB Muturi the Speaker of the Kenyan National Assembly. Other participants included Judges of the Court of Appeal/High Court, IEBC, Registrar of the Political Parties and representatives of the political parties.
EISA, in partnership with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparations (JWCEP) and Kenyatta University school of Law (KUSOL) convened a conference around the role and responsibilities of the electoral management body, judiciary, political parties, security agencies, media and election observers in preparation for a run-off election. Case studies from countries such as Ghana, Zambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast were outlined with a focus on electoral dispute resolution in order to help the Kenyan institutions understand and evaluate their preparedness for presidential runoff in case it was to occur. This event provided key electoral stakeholders with an insight on electoral administration and management in runoff elections.
EISA, in partnership with the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA), convened a workshop on improving efforts to prevent electoral violence in Kenya. Broadly, the workshop provided participants with an opportunity for assessing and improving efforts aimed at prevention of electoral violence in the country in view of the March elections. As a way forward, participants resolved to ensure synergy and effective coordination in order to improve effectiveness in conflict prevention during the elections. It is this resolution that motivated the EISA mediators to work in collaboration with the provincial administrators (charged with regional security) in their respective regions in the course of their deployment.
Recognising the crucial role that the police department plays in contributing to a favourable electoral environment, at the invitation of the Office of the President of the Republic, EISA conducted training aimed at enhancing the knowledge of police commanders on the electoral processes and offences as well as their role in the electoral process. A critical component of the training was to explore the maintenance of peace and security within the context of elections.
Action plans for key institutions (Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) and Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) developed.
In a bid to strengthen the institutional capacities of offices working in the electoral and political process, EISA convened two meetings (one for each institution) for the ORPP and the PPDT. The meetings were aimed at development action plans to guide the work of these key institutions, especially in view of the critical role they play in the electoral process as well as the 2013 elections. As a result, the action plans developed are presently guiding the two institutions towards realisation of their respective mandates. In particular, the action plan developed for the PPDT has facilitated the institution in seeking funding from the state as well as other donors.
Kenya's Electoral Laws and System, 2012 provides timely and invaluable one-stop reference to the electoral reforms recently undertaken in Kenya. By relating to international best practices, Conventions and special interest groups in elections, the Handbook is expected to broaden the reader's understanding of election management and the institutionalization of democracy in Kenya and beyond.
For the new Constitution to function effectively, parliament was required to pass at least 49 pieces of legislation. Some of these were required to be enacted in the first year after promulgation. This therefore called for concerted efforts and support from all key stakeholders to ensure that the stipulated deadline was met. To this end, EISA convened several multisectoral forums to develop the electoral related legislation. EISA also developed a handbook on the electoral legislation in the country. The handbook is intended to provide a one-stop simplified version of the provisions of the laws governing the electoral sector in Kenya.