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Still a Mirage at Dusk - A Human Rights Accounts of the 2017 Fresh Presidential Elections

  • 20 December 2017
  • Author: Elijah Kandie
  • Number of views: 2551
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On 26th October2017 rowdy youths barricaded the road leading to Ogango Primary School Polling Center

On 26th October2017 rowdy youths barricaded the road leading to Ogango Primary School Polling Center

The Commission further monitored the period of the Fresh Presidential Elections period in its report Still A Mirage: a human rights account of the fresh presidential elections.The repeat presidential election narrowed the electoral environment to only presidential contestants. KNCHR sought to monitor the contest to ensure was free and fair and that all the aspirants stuck by the rules and regulations as stipulated in the Elections Offences Act, 2016.

Compared to the August 8th general election, the repeat polls did not have the same flurry of activities where political players held campaign rallies all over the country. The campaign mood was subdued and the number of campaign events held were quite few considering it that was only the presidential contest that was being repeated. Among the key issues that KNCHR continued to monitor were:  Misuse of public office and officers, bribery, inducement, incitement, right to security, rights of special interest groups such as persons with disability and children.

Demonstration-in-Laare-town-opposing-the-visit-of-NASA-leaders-in-meru-county

Demonstration-in-Laare-town-opposing-the-visit-of-NASA-leaders-in-meru-county

Misuse of public resources

Image of official vehicle (white land rover) ferrying Jubilee supporters to a political rally. It belongs to Tiaty NG _CDF. Its official number plates (GK A 151G) which were replaced with civilian plates KBS 600Z on this occasion.

Image of official vehicle (white land rover) ferrying Jubilee supporters to a political rally. It belongs to Tiaty NG _CDF. Its official number plates (GK A 151G) which were replaced with civilian plates KBS 600Z on this occasion.

The misuse of public resources by both National and County level leaders during the electioneering period. Launch of government projects while campaigning, use of government vehicles for campaigns, distribution of relief food and the fine line of Cabinet Secretaries campaigning for the president are some of the practices that tilt the electoral environment in favour of the incumbent.

Incitement and hate speech

No retreat no surrender

Regarding acts of incitement and hate speech, the Commission noted that accusations and counter-accusations traded by the two-main political protagonists which served to sharply divide the country and polarise the electorate.  In a bid to out-do each other, citizens and politicians alike took advantage of the divide to threaten or incite acts of political violence along ethnic and partisan political divides. The Commission is of the view that the impact of some of the utterances led to violence in some areas of the country. 

Polling day

The main gate of Nyakach mixed primary polling center blocked with tree branches to bar entry for purposes of voting

The main gate of Nyakach mixed primary polling center blocked with tree branches to bar entry for purposes of voting

The voting process began with contrasting fortunes for the electoral body. The areas perceived to be pro-government commenced the process in peaceful and smooth manner while those on opposition strongholds proved to be hostile to the electoral body in that virtually no voting took place in those areas. The Commission further noted instances of campaigns within the polling stations, interference of voting process, undue influence of voters and bribery which were acts prohibited in the Elections Offences Act. 

At the point of transmission of the results, the Commission notes that there it was difficulty for observers and monitors to verify the total number of voters who voted within a polling station since the Results Transmission Kits were not displaying the same information at transmission. 
Further, the text message to accompany the scanned forms 34a could not be relied upon as officers of the IEBC were tasked to key in Zero against the number of all the candidates. This had implications on the verification in that it required one to go physically to a tallying centre to monitor results transmitted.

Post-election

A-man-shot-by-police-on-his-arm-at-Obunga-in-Kisumu-Central-Constituency,-Kisumu-County-on-26th-October-2017In the period after the Fresh Presidential elections, the Commission recorded thirty (30) deaths. Out of this number, there were three (3) reported cases of minors who succumbed to gunshot wounds during this period. The other twenty-seven (27) victims were youths and middle-aged persons; twenty-five (25) of whom were male and two (2) females. 

Eighteen (18) of the deceased persons were shot in the head and chest, indicating that security forces fired directly into crowds while two (2) victims were shot around the stomach and genitalia areas. During the running battles with the police, nine (9) victims were beaten or hacked to death while one person was electrocuted after falling on a live electricity line that had been illegally tapped.

During the period under review, civilians were not without blame in contributing towards the number of injuries witnessed following the repeat Presidential Election polls. Civilian to civilian attacks were reportedly instigated along ethnic and political lines especially in Nairobi City County. Five (5) of the reported cases of deaths were attributed to civilians. There were six (6) reported cases of deaths where the perpetrators were unknown.

The Commission also noted a continued repression of the Civil Society space with the National NGOs Coordination Board wrote and summoned three organizations, Katiba Institute, Muslim for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Inuka Kenya to explain on financial issues regarding their projects. The organisations had filed a petition against repeat Presidential poll outcome and while under the umbrella of the Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu initiative had also been active in raising awareness on issues surrounding the polls.

A 19-year-old male who was shot by police on his genitalia on 26th October 2017at Mamboleo in Kisumu County 

The Commission also noted with concern the attack on the IDLO through a letter calling for the ceasing of operations and closure of offices. This was also followed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs suspended the privileges and immunities accorded to the IDLO as part of a bilateral agreement signed with the government of Kenya.

It is worth noting that most of the IDLO funded beneficiaries are government bodies which include: The Judiciary, Parliament, the Executive, the Office of the Deputy President, Office of the Attorney General, the National Gender and Equality Commission, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the National Council for Administration of Justice. Others include the Ministries of Mining, National Treasury, Devolution and Planning, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya Law Reform Commission and Council of Governors. Therefore, stopping IDLO from funding the activities of the foregoing government bodies is akin to the absurd case of a government engaging in self-imposed financial sanctions.
 

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Categories: Ecosoc, Elections
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