Role of Voter Education on Governance Efficacy in Nairobi City County, Kenya
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Citizens are educated and empowered to clearly understand their rights and responsibilities in electoral processes and find out how they can take the decisive actions in elections that in turn inform effective governance by strengthening the ability of citizens and civil society groups to organize themselves, interact with others and make their voices heard by those in power. However, in spite of the fact that voter education is geared towards having free, fair, and verifiable elections, there has been outstanding gaps in the participation of the electorates informed by the lethargic and lack of political goodwill to provide quality and timely voter education to the citizens across the country. This has led to persistent political manipulation of the electorate by the political class, through enticement, where votes are bought through cash, and other goods, eventually impacting the governance efficacy due to poor choice of leaders. The main objective of this study was to investigate the role of voter education on governance efficacy in Nairobi City County, Kenya. The study focused on specific objectives which seek to: evaluate role of methods used during voter education exercise on governance efficacy; establish the extent to which access to information by voters affects governance efficacy; examine the effectiveness of programs used to educate voters on governance efficacy; and determine role of voter training on governance efficacy in Nairobi City County. The study was guided by Participatory theory and Theory of Participation as the main underpinning theories to establish how voter education influences governance. The study employed descriptive survey design to get information from the respondents. The study adopted purposive sampling to select the four constituencies namely; Embakasi South, Mathare, Starehe, and Westlands. A sample of 331 respondents was selected using stratified random sampling, from a population of 1228 research participants comprising of electoral administrators, voter educators, and civil society groups, political party leaders, faith-based organizations, and county residents. Data collection was gathered using questionnaires before being analyzed by means of Pearson Correlation and presented using descriptive statistics in form of frequency tables and percentages for quantitative data. The study found that the methods used during the voter education exercise inform the behavior of voters during elections; access to information, is critical in helping the voter educators arrive at decisions that effectively guide the citizens make informed decisions on how, and who to vote for; voter education programs designed by the elections management board affect governance efficacy; and respondents had the knowledge of how important training of the voters was to the decisions they make that consequently affect governance efficacy. The study recommended that the Electoral Management Body should review voter education contents and organize proper training of voter educators and coordinated engagement with civil society groups and other partners so as to enhance collaborative efforts in providing continuous voter education to the general public. The study suggested that further research is needed on the impact of voter education on voters’ turnout; and establishing the interface the women participation in elections and successful execution of governance processes.