Kenya: Chronological overview of work


EISA opened a field office in Kenya in May 2010, focused on enhancing and improving the electoral process, enhancing the capacity of the legislatures to be more effective, and supporting political parties to strengthen institutional capacity to develop internal democracy and represent the views of the electorate and their members. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom High Commission in Kenya also provided support for strengthening institutional capacity of political parties in the country.

Opening a field office in Kenya was a particularly opportune intervention given that the country was undergoing major reforms occasioned by the December 2007 post-election violence arising from the disputed presidential results. Efforts towards addressing the violence, reconciling the various communities and preventing future conflict led to the formation of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) Committee which identified and discussed four reform agenda items deemed critical for restoring and consolidating democracy in Kenya. This Committee's agenda included: immediate action to stop violence and restore fundamental rights and liberties; measures to address the humanitarian crisis, promote reconciliation and healing; steps for overcoming the political crisis; and systematic measures to address long-term issues such as constitutional, legal and institutional reforms, land reforms, youth unemployment, poverty, inequity and regional development imbalances and consolidating national unity and cohesion.

Activities undertaken by EISA Kenya were in accordance with and played a big role in strengthening the reform agenda items. In particular, EISA launched CMPs based on the EISA Conflict Management Panel model, to support the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIE C) to mitigate electoral and political violence. EISA also facilitated numerous forums between Parliament and CSOs to dialogue and build consensus on critical transitional legislation as stipulated in the new Constitution (adopted after the August 4th referendum), as well as convening a National Political Parties Benchmarking workshop that interrogated the state of political parties in Kenya and developed benchmarks that can contribute to strengthening the institutions of political parties in Kenya. The outcome and report from this workshop informed EISA's continental benchmarking conference held in South Africa in November 2010.

In keeping with EISA's approach to develop synergies and partnership with similar organisations, EISA held consultative meetings with the key stakeholders, among them the IIE C, Parliament, Political Parties and key CSOs. The consultative forums accorded EISA an opportunity to share our planned interventions; gauge the expectations of the various partners in terms of their needs and expectations, as well as plan for collaborative activities to avoid duplication.


Activities undertaken by EISA Kenya in the year 2011 were consistent with the objectives set out in the EISA'S African Democracy Strengthening praject. The constitutional implementation agenda, while posing certain challenges, also presented an opportunity for EISA Kenya intervention. This was especially in regards to the development of electoral related legislation as well as putting in place mechanisms for the Operationalisation of the Constitution. In particular, EISA launched conflict management panels (CMPs) to support the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to mitigate electoral and political violence. EISA also convened multi-sectoral forums bringing together Parliament, state and non-state actors and CSOs to dialogue and build consensus on critical legislation as stipulated in the new Constitution. In addition, EISA supported political parties through the development of, and lobbying for, domestication of benchmarks for democratic political parties in Africa. The ADS II programme, funded by DFID, was complemented by a political party's project funded by the British Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) in Nairobi.

EISA maintained its synergy building and partnership approach. In particular, the consultative forums convened by EISA in the course of the year were lauded as having greatly enriched and raised the bar in the process of law-making in Kenya.


Since opening its Kenya office, just over two years ago, EISA effectively contributed to the democratic process in this East African country through institutional strengthening for institutions working in the electoral and political process, technical assistance to electoral law reforms, assistance to citizen election observation groups and political party strengthening and support. EISA has also expanded its scope of interventions to include interventions with the Kenyan judiciary to enhance fair determination of electoral dispute resolution. The Institute has also engaged with the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal and the Judiciary Working Committee on Elections Preparations (JWCEP). The committee was appointed in 2012 to design and execute a programme to build the capacity of judges, magistrates and other judicial staff on electoral matters and suggest ways of working with other stakeholders.

Within the prevailing context, EISA-Kenya has implemented activities aimed at providing support to the electoral and political process. In particular, EISA has provided technical support to national organs of select political parties, enhanced the capacity of the National Conflict Management Panel, trained the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal and strengthened the capacity of the Office of the Register to be an effective administrator of the Political Parties Act.

Supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), EISA has supported strengthening the electoral process, enhancing the capacity of the legislature to be more effective and strengthening the institutional capacity of political parties. The target institutions have since 2010 and the period leading to the run-up to the 2013 general elections been operating under a new legal framework occasioned by the promulgation of a new constitution and development of new laws to regulate the electoral and political process in the country. EISA has been instrumental in unpacking and aiding the institutions to realise their mandate within the new legal framework.

EISA-Kenya also implemented a project entitled "Strengthening the credibility and integrity of the electoral and political process in Kenya 2012-2013", funded by the Swedish International Agency for Development (SIDA) Kenya Office. The overall goal of the project was to strengthen the electoral and political process in Kenya and restore confidence and credibility in the electoral and political process. This project focused on strengthening the capacity of the office of the Registrar of Political Parties and the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal to play an effective and constructive role in the electoral process, enhancing prevention and resolution of electoral and political conflict through mediation. This involved assisting political parties to develop policy positions and platforms that comply with the Constitution and the Political Parties Act, ahead of the 2012 general elections, and strengthening the capacity of national and local legislatures to provide effective executive oversight, representation and legislative activity.

In the course of the year and in implementation of its activities, EISA developed constructive partnerships and collaborations with various state and non-state actors which enhanced its profile as a key organization working on electoral and political processes. EISA was the civil society technical advisor on elections to the CSO Convened Kenya Presidential Debates Initiative which spearheaded discussions towards holding the first presidential debate in the history of Kenya. EISA also built partnerships with Kenyatta University School of Law whose partnership will involve EISA expanding its scope of interventions to the academia.


In 2013, the EISA-Kenya office implemented three main programmes namely: support to the electoral process through the prevention of election related violence, strengthening the capacity of party agents to mount professional monitoring; and enhancing the capacity of the judiciary to manage electoral disputes swiftly and with credibility. The second area of EISA's support was strengthening the institutional capacity of political parties working with political parties from the ruling coalition as well as from the opposition coalition particularly in the area of post-election evaluation and training workshops. Thirdly EISA supported legislative strengthening through providing induction training for the Senate Members and staff as well as Senate Committees. Additionally the newly created county governments were supported through development and dissemination of a "Guide to Mandates and Procedures of County governments in Kenya". This was an easy reference manual used by the county assemblies as a guide to understanding their mandate and role in the new political dispensation. EISA Kenya staff also participated in observer mission debriefing forums for the 2013 Kenyan elections. In particular, the staff debriefed the various missions on the political environment preceding the elections as well as the legal framework governing elections in Kenya. Among the briefed missions were the EU, AU, COMESA/ IGAD/EAC and EISA technical missions.

Activity implementation in Kenya was against the backdrop of an intense political environment both preceding and following the 4th March 2013 general elections. The period preceding the elections was marked by intensified pressure for political parties to comply with the new legal requirements in order to participate in the elections. Indeed, this resulted from the fact that the elections held on 4th March 2013 were the first after the post elections crisis of 2007/2008 and was also the first elections to be held under a new constitutional, legal and administrative framework. The elections saw Kenyans vote for six elective positions, namely the President, Senators, Members of Parliament, Governors, Women's representatives and County representatives.

The environment in which the elections took place was reflected in the petition filed by Raila Odinga (Coalition for Reforms and Democracy - CORD) challenging the presidential election results which saw Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Coalition obtaining 6,173,433 votes (50.06%) of the votes cast against his 5,340,548 votes (43%). Among the grounds for petition included the deliberate manipulation of the voters' roll long after the legal timeline, voter fraud especially in Jubilee strongholds and the failure of the electronic equipment on election day that allegedly compromised the outcome. After fourteen days of deliberations, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected Odinga's petition and upheld Mr Kenyatta's victory.

Although he disagreed with the decision, Odinga accepted the verdict citing his respect for constitutionalism.

The period immediately following the elections therefore provided a test for the newly reformed judiciary. Beside the presidential result petition, a total of 189 election petitions were filed in the courts challenging the outcome of the various elections. Additionally, the post election period was characterised by various supremacy battles among some of the newly constituted institutions as they struggled to become operational. These included struggles between the Senate and the National Assembly; between the Senate and the Governors; and between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

EISA's Kenya programmes were supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA); specifically, SIDA's Kenya office supported the programme to strengthen the credibility and integrity of the electoral and political process, while DFID-Kenya supported the programme to enhance electoral dispute resolution.


During the review period, the EISA-Kenya office consolidated the implementation of its three programmes.

Through the first programme, EISA-Kenya provided support to the electoral process through the development of a case digest on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) election disputes tribunal decisions. The institution also strengthened the capacity of party agents to carry out professional monitoring in various by-elections, and developed recommendations for amendments to the Political Parties and Election Acts, and for enhancing the framework for electoral disputes resolution in Kenya.

The second area of support entailed strengthening the institutional capacity of political parties, both the ruling coalition and the opposition, particularly in the area of post- election evaluation and capacity building.

Thirdly, EISA-Kenya undertook legislative strengthening through support to the newly created County governments.

Activity implementation in 2014 took place against the backdrop of continued reform efforts and creation of the new institutions established under the 2010 Constitution, which came into force following the March 2013 elections and was informed by the experience of the 2013 elections.

Specifically, key stakeholders in the electoral process undertook internal evaluations of their performance during the elections and were also subject to external evaluations by other electoral stakeholders.

Some of the institutions established under the 2010 Constitution faced challenges in setting up their organisation. In particular, power struggles and related tensions among some of the institutions marked their efforts to function either independently or complementary to one another.

In addition, the country faced increased insecurity, high living costs and political tensions.

EISA's Kenya programmes were supported by the Department for International Development (DFID), through the Drivers of Accountability Programme (DAP) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA Kenya).


The period under review witnessed the termination of the crimes against humanity charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta by the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the prosecutor's move to withdraw the charges due to lack of evidence. This left only two cases, one facing the Deputy President, Mr. William Ruto and the other, a broadcaster, Joshua Sang. Also characterising the period was an increase in cases of corruption scandals. Among the affected institutions was the National Assembly where alleged cases of corruption within Committees were revealed bringing to doubt the credibility of parliamentary oversight. Several public officers, including cabinet secretaries and governors were also implicated in various corruption cases and were forced to step aside pending conclusion of the investigations of the allegations against them, by orders of the President.

2015 also witnessed heightened insecurity within the country. Since the 2011 invasion of Kenyan troops in Somalia, the country has experienced deadly terror attacks in retaliation by the al Shabab militants from Somali, which have left over 150 people dead, mainly Christians. Specifically, during the period under review, there were three terror attacks in Mandera, a region at the boarder of Kenya and Somali. In November 2014, the Al Shabab ambushed a bus travelling from Mandera to Nairobi, killing 28 people, most of them civil servants travelling home for the holidays. In December 2014, there was a quarry attack in Mandera which left 36 people dead. Another ambush, in March 2015, of Mandera Governor's convoy left four people dead. The wave of attacks led to the firing of the Internal Security Minister, Mr. Joseph Ole Lenku and the resignation of the Inspector General, Mr. David Kimaiyo in December 2014. The insecurity in the country has negatively impacted the economy with the tourism industry, the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue for the country supporting thousands of jobs, the sector that suffered the worst. This has resulted from the travel advisories issued by Western governments to their citizens against travelling to Kenya. The insecurity has also led to decreased investor confidence thus reduction of foreign investments in the country. Socially, the insecurity has gradually given rise to fear and suspicion of foreigners especially the Somalis.

Within the prevailing context, EISA Kenya implemented activities aimed at providing support to the electoral process in Kenya. In particular, EISA provided support to the development of regulations for the Campaign Finance Act as well as support to legal audit of election laws in Kenya. In addition, EISA supported electoral reforms through the development of recommendations for enhancing electoral dispute resolution in Kenya. Towards strengthening citizen observation, EISA provided support to the review of the strategic plan for the Institute for Education in Democracy (IED), which currently chairs the Citizen Observer group in Kenya (ELOG).

During this period EISA also put in a proposal for further funding to SIDA and is in discussion with both DFID and Danida for future funding to consolidate the work that EISA Kenya has been working on the past few years.


This reporting period was dominated by calls for electoral reforms following the 2013 elections, where the Independent electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has been faced with decreasing public perception regarding their integrity. Specifically, the electoral body does not have the confidence of majority of the citizens especially because some commissioners were implicated in the 'chicken gate' scandal . This, coupled with allegations of bias by the IEBC, motivated the main opposition, Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD), to call for nationwide protests aimed at ousting the IEBC commissioners. The protests which lasted for four weeks left three people dead and scores injured. The protests were stopped after the President and his ruling Jubilee Alliance team agreed to a dialogue with CORD regarding the IEBC. Following the dialogue, the two teams agreed to a joint select committee to discuss issues concerning IEBC. The 14 member committee's mandate includes inquiring into allegations against the IEBC commissioners and secretariat and recommending legal, policy and institutional reforms to strengthen the agency and ensure the August polls are held in a simple, accurate, verifiable, secure and transparent manner. As the country awaits the report of the committee, there is optimism that the major needed electoral reforms, including new commissioners will be in place in time to adequately prepare for the August 2017 elections.

Within this reporting period EISA commenced implementation of the DANIDA funded programme on "Support to the Electoral Process in Kenya, 2016 - 2020." This is in addition to the ongoing SIDA funded programme on "Strengthening the Electoral Process, Governance Institutions and Women Political Participation in Kenya, 2015 - 2017". EISA also signed a one year agreement with DFID for a programme titled "Strengthening the electoral process and governance institutions". EISA Kenya office suspended its activities for the Sida and DANIDA programmes pending an external audit by both institutions following allegations of mismanagement identified internally at Sida Kenya.