Entrench governance and rights to boost democracy

At a time when most signs point to things that are going really badly, any positive development or accolade is a morale booster.

The rising cost of living and high prices of food and fuel are exerting immense pressure on Kenyans. On the political front, the rivals are still locking horns over last year’s elections, several months after the installation of President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza Alliance administration. 

The good news, though, is that it is not all doom and gloom, and some positive developments have been noted beyond our borders.

Kenya has been ranked 13th in the prestigious 2022 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, part of a mechanism that critically reviews the performance of African nations in upholding rights and uplifting their people’s welfare.

While Kenya has done quite well, it has also regressed in some critical aspects, with a deterioration in security and the rule of law, inclusion and equality and promoting economic opportunities and human development. In the index, only 35 of the 54 countries have recorded overall improvement. This is a laudable advancement from the 18th position in the 2020 report.

However, there is still a lot of work to do, with the panel pointing out that the country needs to address human trafficking, forced labour and the high crime rate. It should also streamline overall administration and look into the performance of the judicial system and fight corruption.

Released every two years, this report allows citizens, governments and institutions to assess a country’s performance, focusing on security, the rule of law, and rights. One area where the countries continue to do badly is in the management of elections. The freedoms of association and assembly have also been undermined.

We could not agree more with founder Mo Ibrahim that Africa needs to urgently address the negative trend to avoid undermining the progress that has, so far, been made.

The highly competitive elections held every five years present an opportunity to deepen democracy, but the process must be strengthened and the loopholes plugged. Free, fair and transparent elections must be entrenched.


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