RIGHT OF REPLY

Supporting Kenyan-led free and fair elections

In Summary
  • IFES does not administer elections, control independent institutions or have decision-making authority regarding any election.
  • IFES provides targeted, technical assistance to Kenyan institutions and people pursuing free and fair elections.

Since 1987, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has supported credible and inclusive political processes in more than 145 countries worldwide, 21 in Sub-Saharan Africa, including support for Kenyan-led democratic development since 2002.

An article published by The Star on 29 November 2020 includes several inaccuracies and mischaracterizes the role and performance of IFES in supporting Kenyan elections.

Each election is unique with its own challenges. IFES serves as an advisor on how to meet those challenges faced by the constitutionally mandated institutions that deliver elections. IFES does not administer elections, control independent institutions or have decision-making authority regarding any election. IFES provides targeted, technical assistance to Kenyan institutions and people pursuing free and fair elections.

 

The article incorrectly states that the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Kenya Electoral Assistance Programme was suspended in 2017 and misstates the findings in reports regarding the 2007, 2013 and 2017 Kenyan elections.

 

Regarding the latter, the reports acknowledge the complexities of these elections, while stating that IFES exceeded expectations in delivering valuable technical assistance while respecting the independence of Kenyan institutions.

For example, the USAID Support for Kenya’s 2013 Elections: Rapid Assessment Review states, “All stakeholders indicated that the electoral authorities needed and appreciated the technical assistance from IFES.”

Another report, entitled Evaluation of USAID Electoral Assistance to Kenya: A Meta Evaluation of USAID Electoral Assistance to Kenya, January 2008- August 2013, states that “He [IEBC Chairman] appreciated IFES’s assessment of different election technologies and the ‘red flags’ that IFES raised throughout the process” and “People like [IFES staff person] were a resource to IEBC and to the international community.”

As the organisation selected through a rigorous, rules-based competition to implement this British-funded programme with international and local partners, IFES is committed to successfully supporting a credible, Kenyan-led electoral process for 2022.

IFES’ regional director for Africa

This letter to the editor refers to The Star article titled “Britain defends Sh1.2bn support for troubled IEBC,” published on 29 November 2020.