Media-CSO Meet to Discuss Poll Preparations

By Civic Space Africa

More than 40 delegates drawn from the media and Civil Society groups have raised concern over outstanding issues in election preparedness.  The conference noted that as the country moves towards the 2022 General Elections, delay in effecting critical electoral reforms and pending administration processes adversely impact on the entire process,

Specifically, the participants cited the implementation of elections campaign financing, the disruptions with new legislative proposals from Parliament, release of funds and underfunding of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as well as its lack of a substantive Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The two-day conference in Nairobi (October 21-22, 2021) was convened under the coordination of the Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) deliberated extensively on emerging issues in the run up to the 2022 General Elections.

The participants underscored the important role played jointly by the media and civil society groups as watchdogs for the society, in holding the government and other public institutions accountable in matters of governance, democracy and the rule of law.

The conference was jointly organised by KCA, The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya), Election Observation Group (ELOG), Mzalendo Trust, Katiba Institute, Transparency International – Kenya (TI-Kenya), Article 19, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Defenders Coalition.

Key speakers at the conference, who included European Union Ambassador to Kenya Ms Henriette Geiger and the Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) George Kegoro, called for closer collaboration between the media and civil society to help the country focus on key issues and realize free, fair and credible elections.

The participants reviewed previous elections and issues that often impact on press freedom and other civil liberties as well as the safety and security of the citizenry. They noted that the devolved system of governance had brought up new social, economic and political challenges that continue to impact electoral processes.

These dynamics as well as a fairly hostile environment, they said, continue to impact the gains made by the media and civil society actors towards the realization of credible, peaceful, free and transparent elections as the country heads towards the August 2022 General Elections.

Additionally, they observed that the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected the operational timelines of key duty bearers and actors in Kenya and on a global-scale with an inevitable trickle-down effect on elections and electoral processes.

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