Kenya, the first African nation to allow Diaspora, prisoners to vote.

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His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republick of Nigeria, right in Nairobi. Photo: Bernard Mulwa.
By Bernard Mulwa.
The head of the International Conference on the Great Lakes region, ICGLR, Ambassador Ismael gasper Martins, today have praised the Republic of Kenya for allowing its citizens in the diaspora and prisoners to take part in the 2022 general elections exercise.
Speaking to the press in Nairobi today, the Ambassador said the Republick of Kenya have shown a remarkable example and called upon other African member States to emulate Kenya.
Giving his speech of a preliminary statement on the 9th. August, 2022 general elections in Kenya, the Ambassador noted that, Kenya is among the first African nations to allow for 10,444 diaspora voters and 7,483 prisoners in taking part of the voting exercise. “our Mission noted that most of polling stations observed ease of access especially to people living with disability and elderly voters” the Ambassador said.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, EISA, deployed a short-Term election observation Mission comprised of 21Short-Term observers, mainly drawn from election management bodies, civil society organizations and academia from across the continent. The Mission is headed by His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan, former President of the federal Republick of Nigeria. The 2022 general elections were held on the backdrop of disputed 20217 elections whose rerun had been boycotted by the main opposition coalition. EISA, noted that the political context leading up to the 2022 elections was heavily affected by the nullification of the 20217 presidential election by the Supreme Court.
The Mission also witnessed improvement coordination between the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, and other state institutions supporting democracy following initial challenges particularly with the security agencies following what was described as an attempt by some foreigners to bring into the country some election material without sufficient declaring them.
By the time of going to the press, The European Union Election observation Mission, today also noted that the tabulation process is still ongoing, and its observers remain deployed to follow the electoral processes through to their conclusion.
The European Union election observation Mission observed that the use of technology in this election was a key point of debate throughout the electoral process, from its procurement to implementation. While the IEBC stressed that the paper-based results are the basis of the system and that the results of the tallying process could be reconstructed in the event of system failure, this was not properly and efficiently communicated to the wider public.
In its interpretation of a 2017 appellate court decision and with the aim of mitigating perceived misuse of the printed voter register, the IEBC decided to have printed voter registers in security envelopes and to use them only in case of total failure of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS). This decision created controversy among electoral stakeholders and was also challenged in court, resulting in a 4 August High Court judgment ordering IEBC to reintroduce the use of the printed register for election day, only to be stayed by the appellate court on the eve of elections, thus obliging the IEBC to change the instructions to its polling staff once again. Aiming to prevent electoral fraud, the IEBC also introduced additional safeguards for voter identification. Despite this, the use of KIEMS for voter identification and results transmission remained a point of concern for most EU EOM interlocustors, although the IEBC reiterated its full confidence in the effective functioning of the system.
Social media were used extensively throughout the campaign, the EU EOM observed disinformation was spread via online platforms, with elements of coordinated inauthentic behavior found by the EU EOM’s social media monitoring unit. Accounts under false identities were used to discriminate the reach of disinformation.
The Commonwealth observers group led by the Hon. Golding, in its report to the media today in Nairobi, reaffirmed that the introduction of election technology in the form of a digital system, the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS), which is used for the biometric identification of registered voters, resulted in controversy and confusion prior to the elections, regarding its reliability.
The Group noted that there were no arrangements for early or advanced voting currently exist for polling staff, security personnel, or other essential workers who are required to work on Election Day away from the locations where they are required to vote. The Group recommend that the IEBC considers this issue in its post-election review to ensure that no Kenyan citizens are unintentionally disenfranchised in future elelctions.

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