The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) to Kenya has today released its final report on the 2022 general elections, which saw William Ruto elected as the country’s fifth president.
The 15-member delegation, led by The Hon. Bruce Golding, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, concluded that, despite some challenges, the election was on the whole credible, transparent, inclusive and largely peaceful. The Group noted the dedication and hard work of the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) staff and polling staff in undertaking this complex logistical operation.
Whilst acknowledging significant improvements in the deployment of electoral technologies compared to the previous election, the Group identified some areas for improvement, including the delays towards the end of the results announcement process and a need to improve transparency regarding the finalisation of the voter register.
The Group was deployed in 14 teams from 7 to 9 August to Nairobi (including Kiambu), Central (Nyeri, Kitui and Meru), Coast (Mombasa), North Eastern (Machakos), Nyanza (Kisumu, Kisii), Rift Valley (Nakuru, Eldoret, Kitale and West Pokot) and Western Region (Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia).
The final report, which has been officially conveyed to the Government of Kenya and distributed to relevant stakeholders, builds on the findings of the interim statement that was issued shortly after the elections on 11 August 2022 and provides a comprehensive assessment of the entire electoral process.
The report includes a number of recommendations aimed at addressing voter apathy, particularly amongst young people, which was evident in the low voter turnout. Such recommendations include encouraging the IEBC, civil society organisations and the country as a whole to strengthen voter education, and the need for political parties to engage young people in meaningful ways throughout the electoral cycle, not just during the election season.
The Group also recommended a need for the full implementation of key constitutional and legislative provisions, including the constitutional two-thirds gender rule and the 2013 Elections Campaign Financing Act.
They noted that there is also a pressing need for the IEBC to receive a much greater portion of its funding earlier on in the electoral cycle, rather than towards the end, to allow it to adequately plan and undertake its electoral activities, including boundary delimitation, in accordance with its own desired timeframe.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, said:
“I thank the IEBC for inviting us to observe this election. The Commonwealth Observer Group played a crucial role during the elections. I applaud their efforts and I hope that their recommendations will be received in the Commonwealth spirit of constructive engagement as part of efforts to improve future electoral processes. I will personally be following Kenya’s progress in implementing the Observer Group’s recommendations, and the Commonwealth Secretariat will continue to offer all necessary support to the people and government of Kenya in their journey of democratic development through our whole-of-election cycle approach.”
The Commonwealth Secretariat recently released a statement in regard to the ongoing conflict and disruption in the country. The full statement can be found here.
Throughout the mission, observers were supported by a Commonwealth Secretariat staff team led by Dr Arjoon Suddhoo, Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.