- There were low rates of youth voter registration, especially for those that turned 18 after the 2017 elections.
- Many women candidates reported verbal abuse and other acts of psychological violence from both male and female opponents and their supporters
Efforts to get youth to register as voters on August 9 were unsuccessful, a report of an international election observation team has shown.
The report by International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) said youth dissatisfaction and apathy was a notable challenge ahead of the 2022 elections.
It said there were low rates of youth voter registration, especially for those that turned 18 after the 2017 elections.
“Election day also saw a decline in voter turnout from 77 per cent in 2017 to 65 per cent, although more disaggregated information is needed to examine turnout specifically among youth,” the report reads.
The study further said registration outreach and tactics did not directly target young people and did not attempt to utilise digital platforms.
IRI and NDI organised the joint International Election Observation to Kenya (IEOK) mission for the 2022 general elections.
IEOK conducted two pre-election assessment missions in May and July, deployed long-term analysts to Kenya who monitored the pre- and post-election period for four months, and deployed a delegation of short-term observers for the August 9 elections.
The mission analysed the legal framework and conditions in the pre-election period; the voting, counting and tallying process; and the resolution of complaints.
The report further noted that participation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in public office is also yet to meet the five per cent threshold required by the Constitution.
“Few substantive efforts were made to increase the participation of PWDs, especially within political parties’ governing bodies and candidate nomination processes,” it said.
The report noted that IEBC for the first time recorded new voters’ disability status and the type of disability they have on the voter registry, and allowed older PWD voters to update their disability status with the assistance of a voter verification clerk.
It further noted that more women ran for elective positions in 2022 than in 2017, both in absolute numbers and as a share of the total number of candidates including the nomination of three female deputy presidential candidates for the first time.
The report said both Azimio and Kenya Kwanza coalitions campaigned on women’s political participation during rallies and highlighted various party inclusion strategies to advance women’s role in public office.
“However, there continues to be no immediate path to realise and implement the constitutional ‘not more than two-thirds’ gender quota, despite the IEBC’s attempt to enforce the requirement ahead of the recent polls through the use of a gender quota for parties’ candidate lists,” the report reads.
It further said many women candidates reported verbal abuse and other acts of psychological violence from both male and female opponents and their supporters and some media coverage of women candidates used gendered tropes and double standards.