CONCERTED EFFORTS NEEDED

Encourage women in politics, says IEBC

International Conference on Great Lakes Region focusses on raising voter confidence and acceptance of outcomes

In Summary

• Forum official says credible and inclusive election, followed by a peaceful transfer of power would have a positive effect on peace and development. 

• IEBC says there must be policies to ensure effective representation of both genders. 

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati during the scrutiny of the Punguza Mizigo signatures at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development headquarters in Nairobi, June 11.
INCLUDE WOMEN: IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati during the scrutiny of the Punguza Mizigo signatures at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development headquarters in Nairobi, June 11.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has called for policies that will encourage women to play active roles in mainstream politics.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, in a speech read on his behalf by commissioner Abdi Guliye, said measures must be put in place to ensure effective representation of both genders.

“We must look at the issues that prevent women from actively participating in politics. We must also look at the strategies and practices that other countries have adopted to encourage women participation in politics,” he said.

He addressed the opening of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Nairobi. The meeting seeks to raise voter confidence across Africa, strengthen acceptance of election outcomes and improve the legitimacy of elected governments.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma called for concerted efforts to include women in electoral processes. 

“Women in the Great Lakes region represent half of the population, meaning they should be part of the electoral process,” she said. 

Her speech was read by Ambassador Ben Ogutu. 

She said the region needs to adopt a consolidated approach to ensure more women engage in active politics at the national and local levels. 

The IEBC called for more domestic observers during elections. 

“We need to build public confidence in the electoral body,” Chebukati said, adding that electoral missions in the country were increasing.

The 2017 elections had more than 100 international and domestic missions with about 54, 000 observers, he said.

“Electoral observation and monitoring have become an integral part of any democratic society."

The UN says the Great Lakes, with an enormous potential of natural resources, has for a long time been viewed as among Africa’s most volatile and complex regions during electioneering periods. 

ICGLR executive secretary Zachary Muburi–Muita said the regional body is committed to long-term election observation meeting AU standards.

In an election, the observer missions meet the electoral body, government authorities, political parties and other stakeholders to assess the level of preparedness and challenges that might arise during the process.

At the end of the observation, a report is submitted on the voting process that is shared with the authorities and the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee of the ICGLR.

In 2017, there were presidential elections in Kenya, Rwanda and Somalia. 

Edited by R.Wamochie