Voter Registration – Nairobi, Kenya

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This is a report of BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Election) Training Workshop for 17 Regional Elections Coordinators (RECs), Deputy Chief Elections Officer, (D-CEO) and five Directors of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), Kenya.

The five (5) day BRIDGE Course was conducted from 13th – 17th (inclusive) January 2010. The Chairperson of IIEC, Mr. A. I. Hassan, officially opened the Course giving it the stamp of high level support. He was accompanied by all the 8 Commissioners, the Chief Elections Officer, his Deputy and a number of IIEC Directors and senior staff. Mr. Hassan returned on Sunday 17th January 2010 to close the meeting and he also participated in the certificates award ceremony. There were more than two commissioners who remained to observe or respond to questions relating to IIEC, throughout the Course. Their support for BRIDGE training for IIEC is clearly manifest.

On 28th December 2008 Parliament disbanded Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) and in its place established the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) through Section 41A of the Constitution of Kenya.  The IIEC was established with 8 Commissioners and a chairperson, who were appointed on 8th May 2009. Also disbanded was the National Register of Voters, after which fresh registration of voters and the creation of a new voter register was included in the Constitution as one of the key functions of the IIEC.

The 17 RECs and 210 Constituency Elections Coordinators (CECs) are the very first field employees of the IIEC, majority of whom have not managed any stage of the Electoral Cycle. The IIEC also employed a CEO, a Deputy CEO and 11 Directors. They are all expected to undergo BRIDGE training as was recommended by the Independent Review Commission (IREC) established in 2008 to investigate all aspects relating to the 2007 general elections in Kenya, especially with regard to presidential elections and make appropriate recommendations. The IREC was chaired by Retired Justice J. Kriegler. It also recommended the disbandment of ECK. 

Therefore, although this training was a Voter Registration (Module) Course; it was necessary to include Introduction to Elections Administration, aspects of Electoral Systems and Voter Information and Education. Participants were also trained on BRIDGE facilitation skills (methodology) – learning, training and communication skills.

This is because it was the very first time for the participants and the IIEC to undergo any BRIDGE training. The participants were also being prepared to conduct further training for Constituency Elections Coordinators and their deputies. Although, most of them have a lot of experience in conducting training and in facilitation, only one Director of IIEC (Immaculate Njenge-Kassait) is a BRIDGE Workshop Facilitator.

The IIEC Commissioners and their professional and senior staff made presentations on the following topics:

  1. Proposed structure of IIEC, its core values, its constitutional mandate and the duties and responsibilities of Regional and Constituency Elections Coordinators.
  2. Public Procurement, Expenditure Control & Management, Budget Process, Financial Management
  3. Specific laws governing voter registration and elections offenses
  4. Simulations and demonstrations of how to set up a Voter Registration Centre, the voter registration process, how to complete OMR (Optical Mark Reader) Forms, how to complete and laminate Votes’ Cards and how to prepare a manual register of voters.

The following was the Facilitation Team:

  1. Koki Muli (lead facilitator)
  2. Peter Aling’o (semi-accredited facilitator)
  3. Collins Onsembe (semi-accredited facilitator)

The five-day BRIDGE Course was sponsored by the IIEC with contribution from UNDP, Kenya paying the Facilitation fees. It was held at Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Leadership Centre in Karen, Nairobi; an excellent venue for the Course.

The 17 RECs and one Director, Praxedes Tororey, had to conduct Voter Registration and Voter Information Training for 210 participants; organized in 9 venues of 23/4 Participants each. Although, the subsequent training was not a BRIDGE training; Collins Onsembe, Immaculate Njenge Kassait (who is also the IIEC Director in charge of Voter Registration and Elections) and myself, monitored and supported the training. We also facilitated the plenary and clarified any issues that were raised during the Course.  

The 18 met in Regional Groups – Nairobi and Central; Rift Valley; Coast and North Eastern; Eastern and Western and Nyanza provinces to prepare for the cascade training of 210 CECs. In these groups; they shared out topics and other duties relating to the preparation of check-lists for resources, preparation and procurement of all the required resources, including a programme/agenda for the 3-day cascade training of the 210 CECs. After group work, participants got together to consolidate their facilitation materials and the resources for participants. They also jointly prepared a PowerPoint presentation, programme/agenda and a strategy for simulations, demonstration and on monitoring and evaluation of participants. They relied heavily on BRIDGE resources (to clarify concepts, principles and set standards) and adapted them to their circumstances. The venue for this cascade training was at the Multimedia University College, Mbagathi, Nairobi (former KCCT).

The participants were incredibly committed, diligent and did a wonderful job. We were all very impressed by their unwavering commitment first as participants and subsequently as trainers for the cascade training.

We strongly recommend more BRIDGE training for IIEC permanent including a Train the Trainer (TtF) Course for Directors and RECs.

We are pleased to welcome new fully accredited facilitators (Peter Aling’o and Collins Onsembe) in the BRIDGE family. They were excellent co-facilitators and I am proud and humbled by their hard work and commitment.

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