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Election Integrity in Kenya: Countering Misinformation for a Strong Democracy

In the fast-paced and interconnected world of technology, misinformation has become a pervasive threat, and no sphere is immune, including the political landscape. 

In the wake of the August 2022 General Elections in Kenya, the impact of misinformation and disinformation on democracy, peace, and the integrity of free and fair elections came into sharp focus. 

As the tech community, it’s crucial for us to examine the challenges faced during these elections and explore the key policy recommendations to safeguard the democratic process from deceptive campaigns. 

In this blog, we delve into the recently convened Electoral Reforms Workshop and the Symposium Report launch, which shed light on the measures required to tackle electoral misinformation in Kenya.

How to Tackle Misinformation

A Multi-Faced Approach

One of the key takeaways from the workshop was the need for a cross-sectoral approach involving various stakeholders. Government agencies, international organizations, civil society organizations, technology experts, and fact-checking organizations must collaborate to develop a comprehensive strategy. 

An essential aspect of this strategy is establishing a robust legal framework to effectively address electoral misinformation and disinformation. Kenya needs clear definitions of fake news and related offences to facilitate timely detection, prohibition, and prevention of deceptive campaigns. 

Moreover, the courts should assess not only the falsity of information but also its potential harm to avoid any abuse of power or arbitrary decisions.

Empowering Citizens with Digital Education

Education plays a pivotal role in empowering citizens to identify and combat misinformation. As members of the tech community, we can contribute by supporting initiatives that sensitize citizens about the impact of electoral misinformation and disinformation. 

This involves educating people on the evolving methods used to manipulate information on social media platforms. By promoting digital literacy, we can equip individuals with the skills to distinguish fact from fiction online, fostering a more informed and vigilant electorate.

Building a Strong Policy Framework

Kenya’s National Action Plan against Hate Speech is a step in the right direction, but it must be reviewed and aligned with proposed legislation to combat misinformation effectively.

Additionally, the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission should update its Electoral Code of Conduct to explicitly address misinformation and disinformation. 

The Data Protection Commission should also develop a robust policy framework to safeguard citizens’ privacy and prevent illegal intrusion by politicians and parties during electioneering periods.

Empowering the Judiciary

The judiciary’s role is vital in combating misinformation during elections. By establishing specialized courts to handle electoral misinformation cases, both during and outside of electioneering periods, the judiciary can demonstrate its commitment to upholding the integrity of the democratic process. 

Developing clear guidelines for proceedings and case determinations related to misinformation will ensure a fair and swift resolution of such matters.


ELOG’s report collaborates with KICTANet’s Technology Observer Mission Report in various polling stations in 21 counties, focusing on technology aspects.

In the report, several encouraging and progressive steps were noted in the use of technology by the IEBC, and by the public.

However, several challenges related to election technology were also noted. These included poor internet network coverage, staff capacity gaps in handling KIEMS kits, late training of election clerks, failure of some KIEMS devices, delays in result transmission, and non-identification of voters biometrically using KIEMS, among others.

In the aftermath of the elections, misinformation and disinformation on social media continued, largely focused on the results of the election. This could have partly been due to the fact that the IEBC portal did not display any text results or statistics and only had results for the presidential election.

From the 2022 general election, it is clear that there is still great potential to leverage technology to enhance the simplicity, efficiency, accuracy, verifiability, transparency, accountability, security, and integrity of the entire electoral process as required under the law. However, there is still great suspicion, fear, and concern over the susceptibility of election technology to manipulation.

As the tech community, we have a crucial role to play in securing democracy in the digital age. By actively supporting and advocating for a comprehensive policy framework and working with various stakeholders, we can help protect the integrity of Kenya’s elections against the perils of misinformation. 

Through education, collaboration, and technological innovations, we can empower citizens to make informed decisions, safeguarding the very foundation of democracy – free and fair elections. Together, let’s decode the deception and foster a more transparent and accountable electoral process in Kenya.


Additional details on the KICTANet’s Technology Observer Mission Report by David Indeje


Neema Mujesia information

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