Determinants of citizens’ trust levels in election management bodies: a study of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)
The issues of citizens’ trust in public institutions have become a subject of focus and concern to many states globally. There has been a decline in citizens’ trust in public institutions; especially the Elections Management Bodies (EMBs) in Kenya. This study, therefore, sought to assess the determinants of the citizens’ trust levels in electoral management bodies through the identification of the trust level drivers and outline the recommendations for citizens’ trust reconstructions. The specific objectives were to examine the influence of the perceived independence of IEBC; stakeholders’ engagement; electoral environment and professionalism of public institutions on the citizens’ trust levels in IEBC as an electoral management body in Kenya. The study was based on three key theories namely; social contract theory, institutional theory and cultural theories of public trust to form the basis upon which the study was grounded. A descriptive study design was adopted in the study. A total population of 2,200,630 of electorates in Nairobi City County, IEBC staff, Media organizations. CSO, Development partners and political partners were targeted from where a sample of 400 respondents (calculated using the Yamane formula) was sampled. The researcher utilized stratified sampling to select the sample for the study. Primary data was gathered using questionnaires and interview guides. Collected data was analysed quantitatively and qualitatively using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software for quantitative data, and the results were interpreted and presented using tables, figures, graphs and pie charts. Qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis. The study found that the four variables in the study (independence, stakeholders’ engagement, professionalism and electoral environment) have a significant influence on citizens' trust levels in the IEBC-with professionalism and stakeholder engagement high in the ranking of trust influence. The study recommends that the commission should fully engage all stakeholders instead of just a few. The Commission in order to strengthen its professional core value should undertake its constitutional mandate with transparency and accountability. There should be transparency and high integrity in the process of appointing the commissioners and not be left to the executive.