Theme: Strengthening Resilience in the Face of Future Crises.


This year’s People Dialogue Festival that commenced on 15th September 2020 did not disappoint. The Centre for Multiparty Democracy initiative to have a forum where citizens from all levels of society converge to discuss issues of the state of democracy in the country, as well as other pertinent social and economic issues, did enough justice for a Day commemorated globally to celebrate Democracy.

The forum was graced with the presence of key players in the Kenyan political space, representatives of nati-

Moderator: Debarl Inea

onal and international civil groups and institutions, members of parliament, and citizens representing all the 47 counties either virtually or in person.

A raft of issues took eminence

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including an emphasis on more civic education, sustainability of political parties in Kenya, the prevalence of misinformation before and during the election period, and the aspect of the pandemic with regards to national campaigns.

SG UDA Party: Ms Veronica Maina

In the last couple of months, the country has witnessed the emergence of new political alliances and coalitions in preparation for the 2022 general elections. This as was discussed in the forum has brought about the shifting of politicians from one party to another.  This “political inhygiene” as the Secretary-General of the Orange Democratic Movement, Edwin Sifuna described it, where a member of a particular party would publicly be heard supporting and advocating for another political party was argued to be a point of causing ethnopolitical tension in the country.

From the discussion, it was evident that there is a need for political parties in Kenya to practice high levels of political cooperation, tolerance, and respectability as stated under the Political Parties Act. The parties are mandated to conduct extensive civic education to citizens to increase public participation on matters of governance and to strengthen democracy, as this is a crucial way of exercising their political rights (Article 38 of the constitution). Disbandment of political coalitions and alliances by politicians was also a key area of concern.

Leader of Majority National Assembly: Amos Kimunya

Some of the issues that were highlighted that are abating the formation of strong political coalitions/alliances in Kenyan extend to the fact that most of them are purely formulated upon the pure pursuit of political power and not on strong development reforms for the country. In addition, these alliances revolve around prominent personalities that if these high-profile individuals step down, maintaining popularity among the people is weakened thus dissolution becomes imminent.

September 15th is an International Day of Democracy, the forum, in conclusion, highlighted some substantial recommendations for an all-inclusive and healthy Democracy. Leaders were encouraged to refrain from attacking democratic values but rather respect the sovereignty of the people by bringing a positive impact in their areas of jurisdiction once elected.

Slide presentation from TCEI

To address the unending mistrust by citizens for electoral bodies, stakeholders; the government, the private sector, civil society groups, and citizens at large are encouraged to leverage modern technology to foster a citizenry that is more cognizant of the things happening around them. With more than 80% of citizens now consuming digital content in Kenya, issues to do with the introduction of cyber security laws in electoral systems/digital laws to counter online misinformation that steers hate during the pre-election period came to light as a matter of agency. Interference from transnational groups, be it Public Relations Consultants, that would use every which way to secure a win at the dire consequence of instigating violence after a general election should never be given room in a country that seeks to strengthen its Democracy.

Electoral bodies i.e the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should therefore invest in ways of conducting a transparent process that is free and fair to all citizens considering that Kenya is on the record for conducting the third most expensive election process in the whole world, and most expensive in Africa. A good way as was recommended is to establish a value system that leverages technology as a blockchain to address the inherent trust deficit issue expressed by voters.

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