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  • Author: Michael Asiedu
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Almost all African countries rolled out significant measure in response to Covid-19. From border closures through to the use of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to restricted gatherings and contact tracing, a combination of diverse public health safety strategies was employed. These same strategies nonetheless would make preparations toward holding smooth and timely elections cumbersome. Ghana’s electoral commissioner announced an indefinite postponement of its voter registration exercise, it is still in consultation with stakeholders on carrying out the exercise with only six months to its presidential and parliamentary elections if the timeline stays the same. Niger also suspended its voter registration exercise; Ethiopia postponed its elections entirely. Other countries that have had some forms of election postponement include Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Today and yesterday, 17-18 June 2020, the UN General Assembly elected India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway to the UN Security Council for the period of 2021-2022. With their election, 7 of the 15 members of the Council in 2021 will be “Friends of the Responsibility to Protect” – having appointed an R2P Focal Point and/or joined the Group of Friends of R2P in New York and Geneva. Despite its role as the UN body responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, all too often the Security Council has been unable to take timely action on mass atrocity situations due to deep political divisions inside the Council over human rights, conflict prevention and national sovereignty. In recent years this has had a debilitating effect on the Council’s capacity to respond to atrocities in Myanmar, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. It is therefore more important than ever for Council members to work in creative ways to ensure that the international community is able to take timely, practical action to prevent atrocities and protect vulnerable populations. Since 2005 the Security Council has adopted 84 resolutions and 21 Presidential Statements that refer to the Responsibility to Protect, including with regard to situations in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and eight other country situations, as well as a number of thematic issue areas. As we commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect, it is our hope that the Security Council will consistently uphold their commitment to taking decisive action to avert emerging crises and halt atrocities wherever they are threatened.
  • Topic: United Nations, Elections, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Kenya, India, Norway, Mexico, Ireland, Global Focus
  • Author: Agatha Ndonga, Kelli Muddell
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: In its primary findings, Kenya's Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission noted that women and girls have been subject to systematic, state-sanctioned discrimination in all spheres of their lives, and that the state has failed to take measures to end the practices that restrict women’s political involvement. This paper highlights the need to overcome the political challenges Kenyan women face: their exclusion from political life, the continued violence against them during electoral contests, and their inability to rise to leadership positions in the country.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Gender Issues, Elections, Gender Based Violence , Inclusion
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Reehana Raza, Karuti Kanyinga, Akanshaka Ray
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: On August 8, 2017, Kenya held its first elections since creating 47 new county governments in 2013 under a constitution promulgated in 2010. The elections were intensely contested both at the national and local level. Disputes over presidential results, amid allegations of fraud, saw Kenya’s new apex court, the Supreme Court, annul the August 8 presidential election. The court ordered a fresh presidential poll, which was held on October 26, 2017. Meanwhile, more than 20 local governorship results were legally contested, with multiple cases being taken all the way to the Supreme Court. These elections and the violence that followed the disputed presidential election created long periods of uncertainty across Kenya’s national and local government. In Wajir county, the election result for governor was contested for almost 20 months, until the Supreme Court ruled last February that the election was valid. Political transition generally creates uncertainty for bureaucrats, but prolonged transition periods exacerbate uncertainty and paralyze government functions. An annual survey and a technical report by partners implementing a project funded by the US Agency for International Development and the UK Department for International Development, Agile Harmonized Assistance for Devolved Institutions (AHADI), assesses how 22 Kenyan counties are improving their capacity to efficiently provide services to citizens. The most recent 2018 assessment shows how the 2017 elections undermined counties’ ability to sustain and maintain capacity-building initiatives.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Elections, Transition
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Inken von Borzyskowski
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Drawing on extensive field research in Kenya and Liberia around the 2017 elections in those countries, this report uses local survey data to evaluate the effectiveness of seven prevention measures thought to reduce the risk of election violence. Its recommendations, directed primarily to the international community but offering utility for regional and national agencies, offer ways to strengthen existing practices or address shortcomings and gaps in programming and enhance their ability to shape environments conducive to peaceful elections.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Violence, Peace
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Rushdi Nackerdien
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: As part of its annual report, the Wilson Center Africa Program asked IFES Regional Director for Africa Rushdi Nackerdien to contribute an essay on recent African elections. His piece, “The Elections We Want,” covered 2017 elections in Angola, Rwanda, Liberia, Senegal, the Gambia, and Kenya, and their implications for election practitioners moving forward.
  • Topic: Elections, Election watch, Voting
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Liberia, Senegal, Rwanda, Angola, Gambia
  • Author: Katherine Ellena, Chad Vickery, Lisa Reppell
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: Mechanisms for election dispute resolution (EDR) must increasingly withstand new forms of sophisticated political and electoral manipulation, most recently illustrated by the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower claims, but previously highlighted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) as a growing concern around the globe. Hence, the right to receive an effective remedy in the elections context, through the efficient and transparent administration of justice, has become even more fundamental. This involves both the protection of procedural justice (for individuals involved in an election dispute or accused of a violation) and the advancement of open justice (for the public at large, which has a stake in the legitimacy of the election process and outcome). This new IFES research paper, Elections on Trial: The Effective Management of Election Disputes and Violations, outlines the fundamental principles for procedural justice and open justice in election cases. Significant attention is often paid to the independence and impartiality of judges or arbiters making decisions on election cases, while the mechanisms through which these cases are managed and publicized are often overlooked. To address this knowledge gap, IFES conducted preliminary comparative desk research on the case management of election dispute resolution in six countries: Mexico, Tunisia, Kenya, Macedonia, Kosovo, and the Philippines, to better understand how case management processes and platforms can help translate established procedure into actual practice. This research was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development under the Global Elections and Political Transitions Program. Institutions dealing with election disputes and violations face enormous challenges as election litigation increases, and as political actors find new ways to undermine the process or to simply ignore laws and rules in place. It can be an extremely difficult task to balance all the different components of procedural justice and open justice in a way that ultimately ensures a just and transparent process for all litigants. The paper presents comparative information illustrating these principles in practice, discusses case management tools and techniques, and provides recommendations for election management and EDR bodies seeking to strengthen the processes and platforms through which elections disputes and violations are resolved.
  • Topic: Law, Elections, Election Interference , Election Dispute
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Philippines, Mexico, Tunisia
  • Author: Allen Hicken, Walter Mebane
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: There is an acute need for methods of detecting and investigating fraud in elections, because the consequences of electoral fraud are grave for democratic stability and quality. When the electoral process is compromised by fraud, intimidation, or even violence, elections can become corrosive and destabilizing—sapping support for democratic institutions; inflaming suspicion; and stimulating demand for extra-constitutional means of pursuing political agendas, including violence. Accurate information about irregularities can help separate false accusations from evidence of electoral malfeasance. Accurate information about the scope of irregularities can also provide a better gauge of election quality. Finally, accurate information about the geographic location of malfeasance—the locations where irregularities occurred and how they cluster—can allow election monitors and pro-democracy organizations to focus attention and resources more efficiently and to substantiate their assessments of electoral quality. Election forensics is an emerging field in which scholars use a diverse set of statistical tools—including techniques similar to those developed to detect financial fraud—to analyze numerical electoral data and detect where patterns deviate from those that should occur naturally, following demonstrated mathematical principles. Numbers that humans have manipulated present patterns that are unlikely to occur if produced by a natural process—such as free and fair elections or normal commercial transactions. These deviations suggest either that the numbers were intentionally altered or that other factors—such as a range of normal strategic voting practices—influenced the electoral results. The greater the number of statistical tests that identify patterns that deviate from what is expected to naturally occur, the more likely that the deviation results from fraud rather than legal strategic voting. Through a Research and Innovation Grant funded by USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance under the Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, a research team from the University of Michigan, led by Professors Walter Mebane and Allen Hicken, built an innovative online tool, the Election Forensics Toolkit, that allows researchers and practitioners to conduct complex statistical analysis on detailed, localized data produced through the electoral process. The Election Forensics Toolkit presents results in a variety of ways—including detailed country maps showing “hot spots” of potential fraud—that allow practitioners not only to see where electoral fraud may have occurred but also the probability that the disturbances in the election data that the statistical analyses detect are attributable to fraud, rather than to other cultural or political influences, such as gerrymandering or geographic distribution of voting constituencies, among others. The team also produced two publications under the DFG grant: a Guide to Election Forensics and a more detailed Elections Forensics Toolkit DRG Center Working Paper. The Guide provides a more general introduction to election forensics as a field, and the DRG Center Working Paper focuses on presenting in detail the results of applying election forensics to specific elections in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya, Libya, South Africa, and Uganda
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics, Elections, Democracy, Election watch, USAID
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Libya, South Africa, Cambodia, Albania, Global Focus
  • Author: Charles Nyuykonge, Nonjabulo Buhle Mazibuko
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: With Africa having steadily begun the litany of elections billed for 2017, the orderly manner in which Somalia’s elections took place restored a glimmer of hope in those who think only the worst for Africa’s democratic and electoral maturity. With over 20 elections scheduled to take place before December 2017, the African Union Commission (AUC) has identified potential fault lines across Kenya’s election processes, and those in Liberia, as sites for election-related violence. Accordingly, among other things, the AUC has trained approximately 50 long-term election observers to be deployed to Kenya, Liberia and other states – based on empirical evidence that these particular cases could be cause for concern. This Policy and Practice Brief (PPB) examines the prospect for a peaceful election in Kenya, and offers insights on what can be done to mitigate any possible election-related violence. With respect to the state of readiness of election management bodies (EMB), the Supreme Court and the government to deliver credible elections, this PPB examines and brings to light challenges that could potentially trigger election-related violence, with the view to make recommendations on how to mobilise key stakeholders to invest in supporting local and under utilised institutions or existing processes and practices capable of mitigating election-related violence. Some of these stakeholders are critical in ensuring the identification of conflict triggers, forewarning about them and preventing their escalation to national crises and conflict. Civil society organisations (CSOs), regional and international organisations should, in the build-up to the 8 August election, effectively co-ordinate their pre-assessment field visits to Kenya so as to identify potential options to avert the likelihood of election-related violence in the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Liberia, Somalia