The Challenges of Electoral Management in the 2007 General Election on Interethnic Relations in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia Counties

Author(s)

Arusei Esther Jeptanui , Prof Edmond. M. Were , Dr. Eric.T. Ogwora ,

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Volume 13 - March 2024 (03)

Abstract

Interethnic violence has significantly impacted the social and political dynamics among communities residing in the cosmopolitan counties of Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu, particularly during the recurring electioneering period every five years. While various factors such as land ownership, ethnic animosity, hatred, imbalances in elective position distribution, and unhealthy competition have commonly been identified as catalysts for this violence, the role of electoral management practices in Kenya has not been adequately recognized as a primary contributor. Efforts to reform the electoral management process in Kenya have been ongoing since the inception of electioneering. The main purpose of the study was to examine the challenges of electoral management in the 2007 General Election on interethnic relations in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia Counties. The study was guided by the theory of conflict theory. The sample size was 363 participants; election victims, former ECK officials, political aspirants, local observers, elections agents, county commissioners, chiefs, security enforcers, village elders, NGOs, and camp administrators. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the sample size that provided study information, by visiting their offices of which their contacts were obtained from the staff (receptionists) who were manning the offices. Descriptive survey research design and mixed method approach was used. The data was collected using interviews, questionnaires and Focus Group Discussions. A pilot study was carried out to check on reliability of the research instruments.  Quantitative data from closed-ended questions were tabulated using descriptive statistics to process data and presented in the form of charts and pie charts. Thematic analysis was used to process data collected through interviews, focused group discussion and open-ended questions for interpretation. The findings of the study showed the challenges included suspicion among residents, tribalism (13.1%), failure of EMB officials to manage results (13.0%), inadequate polling stations (4.3%), lack of trust in police enforcers (4.3%), death of non-locals, loss of property and displacements (8.7%), late opening of polling stations (4.3%), poor coordination (4.3%), harassment, lack of trust by polling officials (8.8%) and late announcement of results (13.0%). The study recommended that to prevent and manage the causes and consequences of violence, a policy for electoral violence management especially monitoring and voter-centered strategies is needed to be carried out on a long-term basis and continue between general elections.

Keywords

Challenges, Electoral Management, 2007 General Election, Interethnic Relations

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