Election Security 2017: Countering the Twin Challenges of Cyberterrorism and Violent Extremism

Jun 12, 2017

Cross Section of participants at the second Maendeleo Forum

The second Maendeleo Policy Forum was held as part of the side events ahead of the National Elections Conference. The Forum brought together experts and practitioners to hold dialogue on democracy, governance and security in the context of the upcoming general elections on 8 August 2017.

“The Commision has done everything possible and within its power to ensure the 2017 general election is transparent, credible and peaceful.” Prof Abdi Guliye, IEBC Commissioner


The objective of the forum co-hosted by UNDP and the Africa Policy Institute (API), was to consider lessons and good practices in election management from the point of view of integrity and effectiveness.  

Kenya, like many other countries, both in Africa and beyond, continues to face the brunt of transnational terrorism and violent extremism – maybe more so for Kenya compared to her neighbors.

The recent experiences around the world indicate that cybercrime is no longer about theft of resources or corporate espionage, but rather theft and disruption of  political capital. The growing dependence on information technology creates a new form of vulnerability, giving terrorists the chance to approach targets that would otherwise be utterly unassailable. For instance, national defense systems, air traffic control systems, and the electoral records and complex data

“While technological advancement remains one of the greatest human achievements in the 21st century, there is evidence that technology also serves as a conduit for luring and radicalizing people globally " said Siddharth Charterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Kenya

The second Maendeleo Policy Forum explores how technological advancement can be used to foster civic education and engagement while using development-led responses to radicalisation and harnessing youth engagement in democracy to advance socio-economic and sustainable human development, including peace and security.

“Based on IEBC's experience and lessons from the 2013 General Elections, we are prepared to deal with the challenges or issues that may arise in managing technology during this electoral processes. Our staff have been trained and the level of security on the election equipment heightened.” Chris Msando, Acting ICT Director, the IEBC


The Forum also presents an opportunity for Kenya to take stock of its achievements in countering radicalism and terrorism as well as measures that can insulate the country from terror attacks ahead of and during the forthcoming elections. As the perception of interference could breach the level of trust among the electorate and legitimacy as well as integrity of electoral process.

Democracy is the best system to deal with violent extremism. If democracy fails, then terrorism thrives. Through the Maendeleo Policy Forum, we want to trigger debate on mitigation measures.” Prof. Peter Kagwanja, the Chief Executive Officer of Africa Policy Institute, who is one of the conveners of the Forum.


For more information contact:
Ngele Ali - Communications Specialist +254 798 481008 email: ngele.ali@undp.org
Mwendwa Kiogora - Communications Associate +254 722 725237 email: Mwendwa.kiogora@undp.org
Sandra Ochola – Media Advisor Africa Policy Institute +254721874098 email: ocholasandra@gmail.com


Note to Editors:

The Maendeleo Policy Forum is  a UNDP contribution to the search for workable solutions to new and persistent problems of developmental transformation and effectiveness in Africa. It provides space for African leaders, international mediators and negotiatorsresearchers, policy makers, development practitioners and writers on African issues, to dialogue on critical issues of development in Africa. The Forum seeks to promote new, alternative and cutting edge thinking on the development challenges that Africa faces, influencing policy making and development thinking. The Policy Forum also provides space for UNDP and partners to introduce some of its research products as a contribution to the search for solutions.

UNDP Support to Democracy Peace and Security: Working in partnership with the government of Kenya and development actors, UNDP in Kenya has assisted in elections and referenda since early 2000. The Support to Electoral Processes in Kenya (SEPK) project is a multi-donor Basket Fund that aims to develop and strengthen electoral management institutions, systems and processes in Kenya with the objective that the General Election in 2017 will be transparent, credible and peaceful. Working in partnership with the IEBC and other government agencies, donor community and CSOs through a multi-donor basket fund, UNDP supports the electoral cycle. UNDP supports institution building and governance, accountability and rule of law mechanisms that are responsive to the needs of citizens, particularly the poor and marginalized.


In collaboration with the Government of Kenya, UNDP focuses on addressing the immediate and underlying causes of radicalization and violent extremism by supporting and complementing UNDP’s ‘core’ programming in affected areas to address weak state capacity, poor service delivery and endemic marginalization. UNDP and partners focus on building resilience and rehabilitating affected communities through development approaches that seek to provide sustainable livelihood pathways and provide a counter narrative to radicalization and violent extremism. 

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