Kenya has made commendable progress in attempts to enhance confidence in the electoral system and to address the underlying governance issues which lead to ethnic mistrust and polarization every subsequent election. Following the 2007/08 post-election crisis, the country undertook significant concurrent reforms within a constrained time frame to restore stability and reclaim its place as a regional political and economic leader.
Working in partnership with the government of Kenya and development actors, UNDP in Kenya has assisted in elections and referenda since early 2000. The Strengthening the 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.
The project is focused on 3 outcomes:
- Strengthened institutional and legal framework for the conduct and management of free, fair, just, transparent and credible elections: UNDP is supporting institutional and capacity development of electoral management bodies Including completion of the electoral legal and regulatory frameworks.
- Strengthened participation of voters, parties and candidates with emphasis on women, youth, persons with disabilities and marginalized groups through civic and voter education; and voter registration.
- Institutional strengthening of to deliver efficient, transparent and peaceful elections including boundary delimitation and dispute resolution; curriculum development and implementation of training for election security in accordance with national and international human rights norms and standards.
UNDP ensures that No One is Left Behind in the electoral process
- Nurturing democratic mind-sets in Kenya’s youth is fundamental to helping to ensure that the country’s ‘youth bulge’ is transformed into a dividend, rather than a toxic legacy.
- A more holistic approach to increase the number of registered women voters, increase the number of women candidates, and ensure that aspiring women candidates possess the skills, knowledge and capability to compete against their male counterparts.
- The Electoral System must ensure that people with disabilities have access to relevant voting assistance in a manner that preserves the secrecy of their vote.
To date, the project has received resources for the current phase from various bilateral donors including the United States Agency International Development (USAID), United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), European Union (EU), Embassy of Ireland and Embassy of Italy, to support planning for constitutionally mandated institutions engaged in the electoral process. These include the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP).
The SEPK basket fund managed by UNDP through a project management unit (PMU), co-implemented with UN Women. Other UN agencies supporting the project include UNHCHR and UNODC; their support entails human rights monitoring and police training, respectively. Using the electoral cycle approach, UNDP support has targeted several key players in the electoral process. These are: Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), judiciary, police, media, political parties, and civil society, including youth and women’s organizations.