Electoral Processes

Election Monitoring
Transparency and Accountability

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Uchaguzi: Harnessing citizen power for peaceful and fair elections in Kenya 


The Problem
There are persistent hurdles hindering the realization of free, fair, and transparent elections in Kenya's electoral landscape. The crux of the matter lies in the pervasive erosion of trust in Kenya’s electoral institutions, sparking social tensions and allegations of malpractice during election cycles. Historical events like the contentious 2007 Kenyan elections resulted in fatalities, violence, and mass displacements, underscoring the dire need for solutions to fortify the integrity of Kenya’s electoral processes and restore public faith.  

The Approach
In the backdrop of the 2022 Kenya General Elections, Ushahidi Inc. spearheaded the implementation of Uchaguzi, an iteration of its platform tailored explicitly for election monitoring. Positioned as a national citizen-centric electoral observation platform, Uchaguzi forged alliances with 19 strategic partners to staunchly combat violence, safeguard lives, and protect property. Empowering Kenyans to safeguard their votes, citizens utilized to disseminate real-time messages regarding the electoral process through accessible technology tools. Civil society collaborators efficiently coordinated responses to reported issues via the Uchaguzi website, orchestrating a 24/7 operation before, during, and after the elections. Encompassing diverse regions and communities across Kenya, the project prioritized engaging underrepresented demographics, amplifying their voices, and addressing voting challenges. Notable activities included deploying the Uchaguzi Platform across various communication channels, establishing a Situation Room for vigilant monitoring, and fostering partnerships with key stakeholders. 235 participants from 8 countries took part in Ushahidi’s community outreach efforts, while 91 digital response volunteers engaged in processing reports, both in-person and virtually. The project's innovation lay in its multifaceted approach, integrating diverse communication channels, real-time reporting mechanisms, and global volunteer engagement, thus fortifying electoral integrity and citizen empowerment. 

The Impact

  • Engaging university students who comprised 90% of digital response teams, the project fostered civic action through a youth-friendly environment, comprehensive training, stipends, and open communication channels, empowering young volunteers. 

  • Collaborated with the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) to swiftly address reported issues, such as inaccessible voting stations, thereby promoting inclusivity in the electoral process. 

  • Disseminated eight dispatches during the election period to Kenyan citizens, global stakeholders, and state agencies. This bridged critical information gaps, enabling informed decision-making and strategic planning for organizations like the Electoral Law and Governance Institute for Africa, Transparency International, and the United Nations. 

  • Provided anonymized citizen observation insights to international election observation missions, including the African Union, National Democratic Institute, and International Republican Institute, which influenced recommendations to enhance law enforcement and citizen engagement. 

The Future
In response to 2024’s “Super Election Year”, where close to 70 countries are scheduled to hold elections, Ushahidi is gearing up to expand its impact and support election monitoring efforts on a global scale. The organization's overarching goal is to actively engage and support electoral processes in at least 20 countries through a global election observatory, partnership development, capacity building, and leveraging its technological tools.