The 2017 election cycle was one of its kind in that, the Country witnessed for the first time the upsurge of independent candidates vying for various political seats and the nullification and conduct of Fresh Presidential Election and the contestation of two subsequent within a period of 90 days.
In the run-up to the 2017 general elections, KNCHR begun from the understanding that systematic monitoring of electoral processes provides adequate documentation of incidents for timely and appropriate interventions. In order to operationalize this, KNCHR developed an election monitoring strategy which identified three key phases; the party primaries, campaigns and the polling period with hindsight on the post-poll scenarios.
In part of the preparations towards the 2017 General elections and in response to how NHRIs should conduct their monitoring, documentation and investigations of gross human rights violations, the KNCHR sought to reflect on its internal mechanisms that it uses to monitor elections with a focus on how it conducted the 2007-2008 Post-election Violence period. This was an opportunity to review its performance and seek to find out what worked best, what did not work and what could have been done better. Through its experiences, the KNCHR sought to draw lessons on the role of NHRIs in monitoring of elections and promotion of human rights within the electoral cycle. KNCHR conducted a reflection survey on Securing accountability for international crimes and crimes against humanity, focusing on its role during the 2007-2008 experience 10 years later.
In a report dubbed, Reflections in the Mirror: An introspection of the KNCHR 2007-2008 experience.
The KNCHR made some key recommendations some of which included that apart from taking cognisance of their socio-political environment, NHRIs should utilise opportunities at their disposal to heighten the possibilities of the implementation of their recommendations. Heavily invest in training and retraining of diverse and professional staff and Commission in modern, efficient and advanced approaches and technology in their documenting and investigating gross human rights violations. The report was shared with other 50 NHRIs in Africa and Europe and made available in 30 other International Libraries.
The Commission conducted public inquires on Insecurity in 4 regions in the Country that had overtime been experiencing conflict as part of early warning and response mechanism with a view of establishing the root causes to the conflict and to come up with appropriate recommendations to be actioned upon by various duty bearers in the respective regions. Elections were used as concerts of contestation in these conflicts which escalated when there was polarisation and heightened tensions resulting from competing political factions. Some of the root causes unearthed in these inquiries identified included: underlying historical injustices, clamour for limited resources, marginalisation, extra-judicial executions, industrial mining and corporation related violations among the host communities.
KNCHR further mapped out 36 counties either as perceived hotspots or potential hotspots during the elections. This assessment was based on data and information obtained from security agencies, various partners including the NCIC, IEBC, involved in the election monitoring and observation and the Commission’s own assessment stemming from past and current engagements in the field.
The KNCHR team managed to develop and roll out an Election Monitoring System (EMS) with an overarching objective enhancing the credibility of the data collection process through capturing an accurate account of the events as they unfold through an auditable, transparent and secure manner.
Notably, the election management system integrated various data collection and analysis tools that were tailor-made for the specific stages/phases of the electoral cycle. Data was captured in form of images, audios, videos and documents received from the field monitors and was uploaded onto an elections monitoring portal for verification, in-depth analysis and timely follow up on electoral malpractices and human rights incidences recorded.
KNCHR deployed a team of 540 monitors comprising of 131 personnel and 139 full-time observers and 270 short time observers spread out in all the 47 counties. The team was taken through an intensive training on several components of the system and appraised on the requisite tools. In addition, KNCHR also synergized with the various stakeholders and partners involved in elections monitoring to complement its monitoring in counties where it did not have a presence.
To augment the system, other strategies invoked included rolling out a Toll-free line 0800 720 627, SMS platform 22359, Social media; Twitter and Facebook, the Commission corporate website (www.knchr.org ), and a dedicated election email