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European Union External Action

EU support for democracy in Kenya

In its development blueprint ("Vision 2030"), Kenya sets out how it plans to implement its 2010 Constitution using good governance and democracy as a key pillar for development. Vision 2030 highlights the importance for ethics and integrity of civic education and of the building and strengthening of legislative, policy and institutional frameworks. It also calls for an open and transparent electoral and political process, as well as for a politically aware society that embraces citizens' participation and involvement in governance processes. The UNDP-led "Strengthening the Electoral Processes in Kenya Project" aims to strengthen Kenya's electoral institutions, systems and processes in Kenya in view of the 2017 elections.

Following the EU’s support to Kenya during the 2013 elections, the EU is capitalising on the lessons learnt from that period to provide a better electoral support mechanism for future elections. The EU's financial contribution to "Strengthening the Electoral Processes in Kenya" aims to develop stronger legal and institutional structures that will lead to transparent, credible and peaceful elections, as well as leading to more informed participation in the electoral process. In particular, we expect:

  • a strengthened institutional and legal framework for the electoral processes;
  • a strengthened participation of voters, parties and candidates in the electoral process with emphasis on women, youth and disabled
  • the delivery of more efficient, transparent and peaceful elections
  • a strengthened electoral justice and increased compliance with the electoral framework

The programme supports activities that cover the whole country. Beneficiaries of it include the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which will be the largest recipient of the programme’s assistance. Other beneficiaries include Kenyan institutions and organisations involved in the drafting of legislation, dispute resolution between political parties, media regulation, women's empowerment and security, including:

  • the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties
  • the Kenya Law Reform Commission
  • the Judiciary and Political Parties Disputes Tribunal
  • the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • the Police Service
  • the National Cohesion and Integration Commission
  • the Parliament
  • other government agencies including county governments
  • civil society (including women movements) and media

The EU is contributing EUR 5 million to a projected total basket fund amount of EUR 21,5 million (US$24 million). The other donors to the "Strengthening the Electoral Processes in Kenya" project are currently DFID and USAID; some other donors might also join. To date (as of January 2017) US$14.65 million has been raised. The basket fund became operational in the second half of 2015, and activities will last till the end of 2018. The implementing partner is UNDP, with support from UNWOMEN.

The EU also supports women's participation in politics through 4 NGOs, which were recruited through an EIDHR call for proposal launched in 2015, and is contributing to the national election conflict prevention and response strategy known as UWIANO.

Election observation activities

As a diplomatic mission, the EU Delegation to Kenya is involved in monitoring the electoral process and in January 2017 registered an Election Observation Group which was duly accredited by the IEBC. EU staff previously monitored the first phase of voter registration in 2016, and members of the Election Observation Group visited Kiambu and Naivasha to help monitor the second phase in 2017.

In addition, as has now been officially announced, the EU is deploying an Election Observation Mission to observe Kenya's 2017 elections. The Election Observation Mission is independent of the EU Delegation to Kenya, and has a separate website, Facebook page and Twitter feed of its own.

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