STALWARTS

Parties should identify, train agents early

Their role does not begin and end some days before and after elections.

In Summary
  • Grassroots presence and role of party agents may need to be upscaled.
  • A coordinated cascading of information, perhaps by adopting the Trainer of Trainers approach, from the chief agents to the lower levels could be adopted.
Some of the agents speaking at Mwingi. They want to be paid their allowances for observing August and October Jubilee elections. /Lydia Ngoolo
Some of the agents speaking at Mwingi. They want to be paid their allowances for observing August and October Jubilee elections. /Lydia Ngoolo

The preparation phase is crucial for conducting free and credible elections. General elections are massive exercise involving thousands of aspirants as well as human capital, logistical and auxiliary infrastructure.

Elections management bodies, political parties, including independent candidates, have started initiatives in readiness for the 2022 general election.

These preparations should include party agents. The agents are recognised under the law. They should be identified in good time, especially in the constituencies, so they can get fully acquainted with electoral issues. Technically, being the stalwarts of their appointees, their role does not begin and end some days before and after elections.

 

Efforts towards building the capacity of agents such as development and review of training curricula and manuals, actual training fronted by the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties in collaboration with other stakeholders has made some inroads. To complement these efforts, political parties could include strategies, conversations and plans in line with the legal role of agents as outlined in the election law.

Grassroots presence and role of party agents may need to be upscaled. A coordinated cascading of information, perhaps by adopting the Trainer of Trainers approach, from the chief agents to the lower levels could be adopted.

In the same wavelength, the role of non-partisan players such as the media and observer missions is as crucial. This category has an even larger call of responsibility to objectively and with accountability inform the larger populace. Setting of tone and shaping the opinion of the masses in varied angles of elections is also largely attributed to this category.

Media and observer missions can make or break Kenya’s image internationally depending on how they portray the country, before, during and after elections.

Party agents must conduct themselves in a manner that upholds and guarantees the sovereignty of the people to exercise the power of representation. We should isolate all matters surrounding political and apolitical agents as early as now for a smooth election.