The elections of 2013 were the first in Kenya’s multiparty history in which disputes were resolved legally, peacefully and speedily, as opposed to resulting in violence or being allowed to drag through the courts.
Since 2012, IDLO has been supporting policy, legal and institutional reforms relating to elections and electoral dispute resolution in Kenya, ahead of the 2013 and 2017 general elections. IDLO’s support is based on the rationale that by strengthening the capacity of the relevant mechanisms for efficient electoral dispute resolution, the credibility of these institutions as arbiters of disputes will be enhanced, which can ultimately lead to sustainable peace, the entrenchment of democratic electoral outcomes in Kenya, and continued equitable socio-economic development in the country.
IDLO’s work on elections and electoral dispute resolution has involved all critical stakeholders – including the three arms of government, constitutional commissions and independent offices, political parties and civil society.
IDLO provided support to the Judiciary through the Judiciary Working Committee on Elections Preparations in the 2013 electoral dispute preparation process, and to the Judiciary Committee on Elections in the 2017 electoral dispute preparation process, including through training, legal reforms, documentation of electoral jurisprudence and communications support.
IDLO also provided support to a multi-state stakeholder initiative in undertaking legislative and institutional reforms on elections and management of electoral dispute resolution, bringing together the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya Law Reform Commission, Registrar of Political Parties, Judiciary and the Parliamentary Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, among others.
Specifically, IDLO’s activities have included:
- Providing training for judges and magistrates working on electoral dispute resolution;
- Delivering training of trainers for the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, High Court, magistrates and support staff;
- Embedding training curricula in the Judicial Training Institute to provide continuous and updated skills-building workshops;
- Supporting the review of policy and legislative reform related to elections to create enabling legal and policy framework for effective dispute resolution;
- Bringing together multiple stakeholders to undertake legislative and institutional reforms on elections and dispute resolution management;
- Drafting and launching a series of publications which highlight the need for a strong judicial electoral dispute resolution mechanism;
- Supporting the finalization and launch of a Judiciary Bench Book on electoral dispute resolution to serve as a reference guide for judges and magistrates;
- Providing communications support to strengthen engagement with the Kenyan public, media, legal experts, civil society and other key stakeholders in the electoral justice chain.