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AN ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC PERCEPTION ON THE CREDIBILITY OF ELECTORAL PROCESS IN KENYA

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AN ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC PERCEPTION ON THE CREDIBILITY OF ELECTORAL PROCESS IN KENYA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Kenya has come a long way in its efforts to institutionalize democracy and good governance. Elections have played an important role in this process. They have, at least, provided the masses with the opportunity to freely choose their representatives. However, it takes competent election management by an impartial electoral management authority with the ability to conduct free and fair elections to ensure electoral integrity and to sustain it. According to Ugoh (2022), in well-developed democracies, the entities in charge of elections are often taken for granted because of their extensive track records of conducting free and fair elections.

Additionally, administrative inefficiency in election process have taken the following forms: late opening of polling stations, late commencement of actual balloting, mix up of ballot papers, insufficiency of ballot papers at some polling stations,missing names from the voters’ register on election day, and mismanagement of election results (IED and ECK reports). Also, as a result, election administration authorities in developing democracies like Kenya are subject to a great deal of mistrust, derision, and scrutiny which affects the credibility of electoral process in Kenya.

However, election results have more credibility when conducted in a free and fair manner. An election is deemed credible by Bush and Pruther (2018) when "people trust its results and believe that it produces an outcome that reflects the will of the people." Also, to the extent that the outcomes are seen as representing the will of the people, credibility is therefore based on how freely and fairly voters perceive the electoral process to have been. People's opinions are almost always based on how they voted, with winners considering an election to be legitimate and losers believing the opposite.

Further more, Shah (2015) perceives the legitimacy of elected leaders and government as grounded on the voter’s trust of the entire electoral process and related institutions. This is particularly so as the citizenry have broad experience of interacting with the entire electoral process. The parameters upon which the freeness, fairness and credibility of an electoral process are measured remain contested. Shah (2015) observes that though there is consensus on free and fair elections as a primary measure of emerging and mature democracies, there is a lack of agreed indicators upon which the level can be measured.

Additionally,according to Bush and Pruther (2018), election credibility is increased by election observer duties, especially when the public perceives the observers as competent and impartial. Put another way, election observers enhance public confidence in a locally run electoral process by refuting claims of fraud and reassuring voters of their ability to recognize and address it when it arises.Therefore, a survey will be conducted on an assessment of public perception on the credibility of electoral process in Kenya.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The quality and outcome of Kenyan elections have been influenced greatly by the manner in which the entire electoral process was managed. The management of Kenya’s elections is the responsibility of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). The establishment of the ECK as a statutory body was premised on the assumption that an independent electoral body would ensure the conduct of free and fair elections.

The existing electoral systems in Kenya exhibit several shortcomings, including issues related to the mobility of voters, security concerns, and accuracy in the tallying process due to human errors. Additionally, according to Mercurio (2019), challenges are observed in terms of eligibility and authentication, integrity, individual verification and auditability, reliability, adaptability, performance, and scalability during electoral process in Kenya.

Further more, besides the reliabitility of e-Voting technologies, there is a dire need for international standards to govern the technology, the software reliability and accuracy, the processes and algorithms deployed within the technology, and the verification of all hardware, software and protocols involved. As such standards will eventually allow elections to proceed in the country without the need for monitoring bodies. In other words, what is free, fair, and credible should take cognisance of unique and different realities such as a democracy emerging from internal conflicts or electoral violence. It is in the light of these that the study seeks an assessment of public perception on the credibility of electoral process in Kenya.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to an assessment of public perception on the credibility of electoral process in Kenya. Specifically, the study will;

  1. Assess public opinion on the extent credible elections are conducted in Kenya

  2. Asses public perception on the factors affecting the credibility of electoral processes in Kenya

  3. Assess public perception on the impact of incredible election on the electoral system of Kenya.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

  1. What is the public opinion on the extent credible elections are conducted in Kenya?

  2. What are the public perception on the factors affecting the credibility of electoral processes in Kenya?

  3. What are the public perception on the impact of incredible election on the electoral system of Kenya?

1.5 Significant of the Study

This study will enlighten the government on creating conditions that enable free, fair, and credible elections,and also develop institutional capacity necessary for the practice of democratic politics (Goodwin, 2016). Furthermore, this research will equip media houses with ability to convince the public of the credibility of electoral process and outcomes, or otherwise offer fair coverage of candidates and political parties.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to assessment of public perception on the credibility of electoral process in Kenya.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on an assessment of public perception on the credibility of electoral process in Kenya. Theoretically, this study will assess public opinion on the extent credible elections are conducted in Kenya, assess public perception on the factors affecting the credibility of electoral processes in Kenya and assess public perception on the impact of incredible election on the electoral system of Kenya.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to residents in Kenya.

1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Elections: formal and organized choice by vote of a person for a political office or other position.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Methodology: Yes available


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