ATLANTA — The Carter Center today released its Youth and Women’s Consultations on Political Participation in Kenya report, which outlines key challenges women and youth face when trying to participate in politics and offers detailed recommendations for strengthening their political engagement in future elections.
The Center encourages stakeholders to begin implementing recommendations swiftly to foster an environment that allows youth and women’s fair and safe participation in the 2022 electoral cycle.
The Carter Center observed Kenya’s 2017 general election and found that while youth and women made minimal gains when contesting in the election, they faced serious challenges. The Center extended its activities to gain a better understanding of barriers to – and opportunities for – participation that exist for youth and women.
Multiple mechanisms are in place to support and strengthen youth and women’s political participation, but these have not been fully enacted or implemented to reflect the principles articulated in the 2010 Constitution. Youth and women face serious financial, societal, and cultural challenges to their participation, including intimidation, harassment, and violence. Despite these challenges, they remain eager to participate as candidates, voters, and informed citizens.
The Center urges executive, parliamentary, and county government actors to take steps to protect and promote youth and women’s participation. The Kenyan authorities should provide sufficient resources to constitutional commissions and other regulatory bodies, enabling them to fully enforce compliance with legal provisions and codes of conduct that advance youth and women’s political participation. The Carter Center encourages political parties to reform and strengthen their internal party structures to increase the number of youth and women as both party members and decision-makers.
The Carter Center in Kenya:
The Carter Center’s international election observation mission monitored key parts of the electoral process from April through November 2017. A core team of experts was joined by a large group of short-term observers to monitor voting, counting, and tallying for the Aug. 8 election. Because the Oct. 26 rerun election was marked by increased insecurity, an uncertain political environment, and an opposition boycott, the Center deployed a smaller, limited observation mission, which did not cover all areas of the country. The Center followed up its mission with the deployment of experts from February to August 2018 to conduct further activities focused on information and communications technology, legal reform, and women’s and youth participation.