Elections in Kenya has been at the heart of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. Being a right guaranteed in the Kenyan Constitution, the Commission’s engagement towards the realisation of the right to vote and be voted for has been to seek to promote and protect these rights among others, at all stages of the electoral cycle in the period, before, during and after the elections.
The Commission has been at the forefront in advocating for a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to elections in order to promote accountability of leadership which can only be achieved through enhanced public participation mechanisms.
KNCHR has played the role of monitoring, documenting and investigating human rights violations during the electoral cycle and has over the years become a depository of elections monitoring related expertise with its reports becoming reference points for both local and international engagements. In 2005, the KNCHR monitored the referendum exercise and compiled a report which highlighted the impact of hate speech.
The recommendations from the report influenced the establishment of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission. In 2007, KNCHR undertook a comprehensive documentation of human rights violations arising out of the post elections violence and compiled the report titled On the Brink of Precipice- A Human Rights Account of the Kenya Post 2007 Election Violence.
This report has been instrumental in the engagements on the various strategies and frameworks towards securing accountability for the international crimes committed. Similarly, the KNCHR monitored the 2013 party nominations and general elections. In its reports Break from the Past and 2013 Elections: Safeguarding Rights, KNCHR made observations and recommendations that are informing the ongoing review of electoral laws to facilitate the supervision of party primaries, increase political party discipline and regulate campaign financing.