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AN INVESTIGATION ON THE FACTORS AFFECTING FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN KENYA

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AN INVESTIGATION ON THE FACTORS AFFECTING FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN KENYA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Kenya has conducted presidential, parliamentary, and local government elections every five years since gaining independence in 1963, as mandated by the nation's constitution. For the majority of the post-independence era, the country operated under a single-party system of government. However, in 1992, Kenya transitioned to a multi-party democracy after amending the relevant section of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections Act. This shift from a single-party to a multi-party system had significant implications for both the administrative and legal frameworks governing elections.

However, various factors, such as violence, ethnicity, clan affiliations, the nature of political parties, voter apathy, the personalities of individual politicians, ineffectiveness of e-voting tools and sometimes religious considerations, have influenced the electoral freedom and fairness in Kenya. In addition, the process of consolidating democracy through free and fair elections in Kenya has however been faced with a myriad of challenges, as the country grapples with weak institutions and ethnically instigated political divisions. According to the promulgation of the country’s second Constitution in 2010, and the subsequent enactment of electoral laws by Parliament was perceived as a new dawn for Kenya’s democracy.

The 2010 Constitution broadened representation by creating a devolved structure with two levels of governance, that is, national and county governments. In addition, the Constitution addressed the question of gender representation and equality by providing a gender quota, constitutionally referred to as the two-thirds gender rule. Special seats through nomination, and an affirmative seat for a county woman member of parliament are some of the legal strategies for increasing women’s representation in political leadership.

Beyond that, Lindberg (2019) posits that a free and fair electoral process enacts an important component of distributive justice in relation to power and enhances authority and legitimacy of a democratically elected government. Lindberg’s argument underscores the importance of elections as a primary means through which the ruled (the people) select and establish a binding social contract with their leaders (rulers), and the government as an institution. In adopting the Declaration on Criteria for Free and Fair Elections, 1994, the Inter-Parliamentary Council (IPC) acknowledged that the authority of any government derives from the will of the people expressed through free, fair, and periodic elections based on universal, equal and secret suffrage (Inter-Parliamentary Council, 2017).

Laakso's (2017) described electoral violence as actions driven by an endeavor to influence the outcomes of elections. This influence can be achieved through the manipulation of electoral processes and participation, or by challenging the legitimacy of the election results. Additionally, electoral violence can have negative economic consequences, which can in turn impact democratic consolidation. It can deter foreign investment, disrupt economic activities, and increase poverty, all of which can undermine the stability necessary for democratic consolidation (Avraham,2019).

Similarly, electoral malpractice presents a significant obstacle to, and affects the process of conduting a free and fair election in Kenya. This conduct often manifests as the engagement in repeated instances of voter registration, the exchange of voter's cards for monetary gain, the provision of bribes to election authorities, the deliberate withholding of registration materials, and the use of other deceptive and manipulative tactics to gain an unfair advantage over political adversaries (Shelly, 2019).

Further more, Goodwin-Gill (2016) summarizes free and fair as a concept that is used depending on the context, noting that there is no coherent way of measuring the free and fairness of an election, apart from the fact that it is a judgement from either an observer, or a participant. Also, determining whether an election was free and fair requires a broad investigation of institutions and their complex interaction during the entire electoral process. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to investigate on the factors affecting free and fair election in Kenya

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The foundation for evaluating other democratic indicators is free and fair elections. Despite the fundamental principles of democracy, instances of electoral misconduct, voter suppression, fraud, and violence continue to undermine the integrity of elections. However, manipulation of the electoral process through activities such as voter impersonation, ballot stuffing, or vote-buying can distort election outcomes (Chweya, 2022).

Additionally, Hogan (2015) asserts that actions that prevent eligible voters from participating in elections, such as restrictive voter ID laws or gerrymandering, can undermine the free and fairness of the electoral process. Furthermore, biased reporting and the spread of false information through media and social platforms can influence voters and distort public opinion. It is in the light of these that the study seeks to investigate on the factors affecting free and fair election in Kenya.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is an investigation on the factors affecting free and fair election in Kenya. Specifically, the study will;

  1. Find out the impact of electoral violence on free and fair election in Kenya.

  2. Find out the implication of electoral malpractice on free and fair election in Kenya.

  3. Find out the extent voter apathy affected free and fair election in Kenya.

  4. Find out the extent at which the ineffectiveness of e-voting tools affected free and fair election in Kenya.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

  1. What is the impact of electoral violence on the conduct of free and fair elections in Kenya?

  2. What are the implications of electoral malpractice on free and fair elections in Kenya?

  3. To what extent has voter apathy affected free and fair elections in Kenya?

  4. To what extent has the ineffectiveness of e-voting tools impacted free and fair elections in Kenya?

1.5 Significant of the Study

An investigation on the factors affecting free and fair election in Kenya will be revealed to the government at various levels, policy makers, political parties, politicians, media outlets and residents in this study. It will additionally 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 be useful to media houses to be more objective and impartial in political reporting regarding all candidates for the election.

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 an investigation on the factors affecting free and fair election in Kenya.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on an investigation on the factors affecting free and fair election in Kenya. Theoretically, this study will find out the impact of electoral violence on free and fair election in Kenya, implication of electoral malpractice on free and fair election in Kenya, find out the extent voter apathy affected free and fair election in Kenya and find out the extent at which the ineffectiveness of e-voting tools affected free and fair election in Kenya.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to residents of Mombasa, 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

Electoral malpractice:  is the deliberate and unlawful way of manipulating electoral processes, It is the ills and evils perpetrated before, during and after.

Democracy: a system of government in which laws, policies, leadership, and major undertakings of a state or other polity are directly or indirectly decided by the “people.

Electoral violence: Laakso (2017) notes that: “electoral violence is an activity motivated by an attempt to affect the results of the elections – either by manipulating the electoral procedures and participation or by contesting the legitimacy of the results”.


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



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