The Registrar of Political Parties,Ms Ann Nderitu was among the national voices that featured during on the third edition of the People Dialogue festival (PDF), 2021 held on 15th and 16th September, 2021. Departing from the previous editions, this year’s fair was staged nationally in Nairobi and concurrently in four counties of Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Laikipia and Kakamega counties, 2021.
This year’s was event organised by Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD-Kenya) in conjunction with other partners, was an hybrid, where pre-recorded messages of opinion shapers formed virtual exhibition displays while a limited in person attendees were allowed at the venues.
The Registrar was one of the key note voices giving guidance on political parties and democratic growth. In her pre-recorded message played during the forum, she highlighted of ORPP’s varied initiatives with focus on its continued efforts in enforcing the Political Parties Code of Conduct through varied compliance mechanisms. Some of the gains the Office had put in place to ensure that political parties contribute in the realization of a stable political environment ahead of the 2022 general elections the Registrar highlighted were: training party organs on good governance; regular guidance on cooperation and other intra/inter party relations; capacity building and regular engagement with parties’ Special Interest Groups; spearheading of legal reforms; embracing appropriate ICT solutions among others.
Registrar of Political Parties, Ann Nderitu makes her contribution as a lead panelist during the People’s Dialogue Festival in Hilton, hotel Nairobi.
“The efforts we are making at ORPP are to ensure political processes are as inclusive as possible, contributing to the making of a better and more refined country for the next generations”, Registrar underscored during a recording session in her Office for the event on 7th September, 2021. She urged that political mobilization as the country gears towards general election should be progressive and issue-based “Mobilization along political lines should be on issue-based politics as Constitution of Kenya requires so as to be alive and responsive to issues ailing some of our systems”, Ms Nderitu emphasized.
Speaking as a panelist,Registrar delved into the subject of the impact of and dis/misinformation on electoral integrity and citizens’ trust in democratic institutions as well as regulatory options to address electoral integrity issues. “Democratic elections rely on a competitive process, faith in electoral institutions and informed participation. The strategic deployment of false, exaggerated or contradictory information in the electoral environment has been a potent tool for undercutting these democratic principles in many places around the world”, Registrar pointed, while clarifying on functional differences between disinformation and misinformation.
“I encourage political parties to refrain from engaging in disinformation tactics especially in campaigns and must take steps to protect their repute on this front. An interparty of dialogue and upholding the Code of Conduct should be a norm”. Adding the call for appropriate legislative actions to protect and address electoral integrity-related issues for functioning and survival of democracies.
“Low levels of trust in democratic institutions by citizens lead to destabilization of electoral contests as the fear of defeat oft results into a sense exclusion from political and economic opportunities hence violence and instabilityas well as varied anti-movements may arise”, Registrar summed.
Chairperson for CMD Senator Abshiro Halake noted the importance of such as forum as PDF that provides unique opportunity to foster active civic engagement, a culture of dialogue and critical thinking on a range of governance, social and economic issues by bringing together people of different trades and backgrounds. “PDF is here to ensure that we leave no one behind”, the nominated Senator noted.
The event programme consisted of key note address by chief guests, audience-lead panel discussions on identified topics, county forums to complement the main event and entertainment sessions from wide variety of artistic genres.
Participants consisted of representation drawn from: government officials, political parties, diplomats, Community Based Organisations, religious organisations, professional associations, academia, civil society, trade unions, Special Interest Groups, media and general members of the public. This year CMD also incorporated participation by students from high and primary schools.