The Kenya Correspondents Association has begun deploying election monitors ahead of August 9, polls.
The deployment follows a two-day training of the monitors who are members of the association.
On June 18, the association graduated 25 monitors before deploying them to various counties.
This is the first phase, and soon we will be engaging more monitors to ensure that all the counties are coveredOloo Janak
“This is the first phase, and soon we will be engaging more monitors to ensure that all the counties are covered,” said Oloo Janak, the association Chair.
The second phase of the deployment will see additional monitors trained and released to the counties.
According to Janak, the deployment is part of the election preparedness to curb violations against journalists and the public.
“There exist violations against journalists and the public in regards to fundamental rights and freedoms around governance,” said Janak.
He added: “But we are alive to the fact that these violations escalate during election period.”
If the citizens are violated in terms of the freedom of assembly, freedom of association, right to expression, then this undermine democracy, and media as a guarantor of democracy, will report these casesOloo Janak
Through the support of Free Press Unlimited (FPU), KCA has developed a reporting tool which the monitors will use to record the violations.
FPU is an international organization that supports independent news and information for all.
The monitors are expected to observe cases of attack against journalists, cases of threats and intimidation, and access to information.
“If the citizens are violated in terms of the freedom of assembly, freedom of association, right to expression, then this undermine democracy, and media as a guarantor of democracy, will report these cases,” said Janak.
Janak said the reports from the monitors will be used to engage the government and other stakeholders to advocate for good environment for journalists.
The monitoring exercise will cover the pre-election phase, election phase, and the post polling period.
A monitoring tool has been developed, synonymous to an Occurrence Book, where the monitors will fill in information on the daily activities.
The reporting during the monitoring period will take three levels.
Emergency cases will be reported in real time through calls, texts and WhatsApp platforms.
However, the monitors will have a tool for recording the incidents on a weekly basis.
At the end of the month, the monitors will be presenting detailed reports indicating the trends of the violations.
“There are many other organizations deploying monitors, and since KCA is a key player through a task force on election, we would want to use our deep structures, skills and membership goodwill to ensure that we produce the best report which can be shared to other stakeholders,” said Janak.
A communication channel managed by the KCA Secretariat has since been created through which the reports will be shared.