• In its pre-election report released on Wednesday, the poll observer said lack of oversight on election spending will open an avenue for massive electoral malpractices.
• Spending limits were de-gazetted in October 2021 after Parliament declined to pass them for being tabled outside the prescribed time limit.
The Elections Observation Group (Elog) has recommended the immediate formulation and gazettement of caps on campaign funding to safeguard the integrity of the August 9 election.
In its pre-election report released on Wednesday, the poll observer said lack of oversight on election spending will open an avenue for massive electoral malpractices.
"The unregulated use of money in the forthcoming elections is likely to promote voter bribery, encourage the use of illicit funds, and distort the fundamental principles of democracy," the group said.
Spending limits were de-gazetted in October 2021 after Parliament declined to pass them for being tabled outside the prescribed time limit.
This means Kenya will conduct its elections for the third successive time without oversight on campaign funding and spending.
This runs the risk of some politicians using funds obtained through dubious means like money laundering to run their campaigns.
To avert such a scenario, Elog said IEBC can quickly come up with regulations, subject them to public participation and gazette them immediately ahead of the polls.
This would, however, be a monumental task considering the polls are just 33 days away.
Elog also urged the government to use intelligence resources at its disposal and ensure those involved in money laundering and other criminal activities ahead of the polls are arrested.
"This ensures that criminals do not hijack the country’s electoral processes and lockout law-abiding citizens who can bring the much-desired change," Elog said.
The report was based on the scrutiny of political happenings between February and May 2022.
A team of 290 observers was deployed across 47 counties to monitor the pre-electoral environment.
Among its other recommendations is for political parties to strengthen their structures and allow fair competition during future party primaries and other internal party activities.
The report noted that the number of independent candidates vying in the forthcoming polls had risen to unprecedented levels because of a lack of confidence in political parties.
"A major reason by the persons seeking elective positions as Independent candidates were that they did not have faith and confidence in political parties," the report said.
The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) cleared 47 candidates to vie for the presidency, while 7,125 candidates had been cleared to vie for the rest of the seats.
IEBC, however, cleared only four candidates for the presidency; Raila Odinga of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party, William Ruto of UDA, David Waihiga of Agano Party and George Wajackoyah of Roots Party.
Reasons for the dismissal of the rest of the candidates ranged from lack of integrity to failure to meet statutory requirements.
Elog recommended that aspirants with integrity issues and active cases relating to integrity be barred from contesting for any public office until such cases are concluded.
"For the relevant duty bearers such as the IEBC, EACC, and DPP to work in concert to address integrity issues to ensure that the sanctity of the Kenyan elections is upheld," the group said.
Other recommendations are for political party lists to be gender-inclusive to ensure two-thirds gender requirement is achieved, to enhance participation of minorities and marginalized communities in electoral processes and for party nominations to be devoid of rigging, intimidation, violence and discrimination.