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LESSONS FROM KENYAN ELECTION: There’s bigger problem if only 15 percent elected our current President — Mbamalu, member Jonathan-led monitoring team

LESSONS FROM KENYAN ELECTION: There’s bigger problem if only 15 percent elected our current President — Mbamalu, member Jonathan-led monitoring team

States what Nigeria can learn from E/African nation

The recent presidential election in Kenya turned out to be an instructive exercise for Nigerians considering that 2023 polls are less than six months away.  Director of  Programs, YIAGA Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, who was part of an observer mission, in this interveiw,  speaks on lessons for Nigeria as it commences a defining election circle.

You were part of the former President Goodluck Jonathan-led EISA  observation mission  that monitored the presidential election in Kenya. The poll generated a lot of interest in Nigeria, especially the outcome. Narrating your experience will be helpful as Nigeria prepares for a  defining general elections next year…

I want to highlight the fact that we have some experiences and similarities with Kenya. For instance, Kenya returned to multiparty democracy in 1992 because it was a one-party state for a long time. It also has British colonial history like Nigeria. We returned to democracy in 1999, a few years after Kenya. But they had several periodic elections until 2010 when they had a review of their constitution, which gave them a new constitution that was quite progressive. It provided specific progressive provisions around election administration and management, things around the independence of their judiciary and progressive provisions around inclusion. When it comes to the electoral system, the Kenyan constitution provides for two third gender rule for women’s inclusion.

They also have a unique system that provides special seats for youths, women and people with disabilities. Nigeria is yet to get there on inclusion. However, Nigeria has also been on several constitution amendments. In 2018, there was an amendment to reduce the age for more youth inclusion with the passage of Not too Young to Run Act. But that can’t be compared with special reservations for women and young people in Kenya, but that was a progressive amendment. If we want to look at the context, the electoral system context,  in Kenya also has the  first-pass -the post  system  for presidential election. It is based on a two-round majoritarian system. For parliamentary election, Kenya . has a hybrid of single member majoritarian system and proportional representation.

Can you expatiate bearing in mind the Nigerian system?

To win the presidential election in Kenya, you need to win 50 percent plus one of the majority votes and you need to have a spread  of 25 percent in each of more than  half of the counties.  In Nigeria, you need to have at least 25 percent of the vote cast in two-third majority of the states. In Kenya, you need to win in at least each of more than half of the counties.  That is  in addition to the 50 percent plus one.

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