Civil society, through governance expert and civil rights activist, Daisy Amdany, called for government funding.
Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG), Amdany also stressed the need for the state to recognize the role of civil societies in governance.
“The state has a responsibility to recognize the role that civil societies play and should actively seek ways to fund these organizations,” said Amdany, executive director of Crawn Trust.
The forum brought together members of the public, media, civil society organizations and key officials to discuss the level of preparedness ahead of the elections.
Amdany expressed concern about donor dependency within civil society organizations, citing various challenges with donor funding being the only resource.
“In the past, donors have been prevented from funding civil society organizations by the state. Donors also struggle to find a balance between not offending their host countries and their ability to ensure democracy is maintained,” Amdany said.
The activist also condemned the government’s demonization of civil society in what she said was an attempt to evade accountability, and accused them of working for regime change.
Lucas Kimanthi, deputy director for reforms and accountability at the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, said they were ready to deal with human rights abuses before and during the elections.
“As a commission, we have built a good base in terms of the election experience from 2007 to 2017. We reviewed the 2017 report and made recommendations based on what we documented,” Kimanthi said.
He also urged the media to give equal coverage to all candidates and temper political analysts.
“We also recommend that the media focus on party primaries because they are very crucial,” he said.
The Election Observers Group (ELOG) has raised concerns about legal reforms being made ahead of the elections, saying this should not be the case.
“The elections are just over five months away, but there are still pending laws that need to be enacted, which is a major concern,” said Janet Chapia, communications manager at ELOG.