Elections Preparedness: A Reality Check, My Responsibility
7 July 2017
With the upcoming general elections scheduled for August 2017, HIPSIR recognizes that initiating a multifaceted peace building effort and preventing pre and post elections violence and creating sustainable peace beyond the elections period is critical. Ensuring credible and peaceful elections is a collective responsibility that involves many key actors, including the citizens. In its tradition of organizing topical monthly public forums, HIPSIR, in collaboration with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Kenya Electoral Assistance Program (KEAP) held a monthly public forum themed Elections Preparedness: A Reality Check, My Responsibility on July 7, 2017. The event targeted scholars, subject matter experts, government, religious leaders and organizations (NGOs, CSOs, FBOs and CBOs) keen on promoting peaceful democratic transitions and members of the public. The key speakers at the forum included Mr. Irungu Houghton, the Associate Director of the Society for International Development, who spoke on the relationship between peace and justice, reminding the audience that it is a constitution right to have credible and peaceful elections and the current dichotomy that exists of pitting justice against peace is an anomaly since sustainable peace cannot take root in the absence of justice. Mr. Obadiah Keitany, the Director of Audit, Risk and Compliance of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) spoke on the structures and mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections. Mr. Martin Oloo, a lawyer and political analyst, discussed the social contract that exists between the electorate and political leaders. He stressed on the importance of ethics in the Kenyan political sphere. A key factor that will ensure the elections are credible and peaceful is the willingness of all the stakeholders including the citizens to engage in a constructive dialogue in a responsible and responsive manner. The IEBC as the body mandated to deliver free, fair and credible elections is expected to educate and inform the public on the progress it makes related to how well prepared it is for the elections while ensuring it conducts its work in a transparent manner in order to build trust with all the stakeholders. It is each person's responsibility to ensure credible and peaceful elections.