In the Kenyan electoral context, party primaries play a critical phase in the elections. This is because of the ethnic and locational dimensions in the management of party affairs. It was thus crucial for KNCHR to monitor political party primaries and the campaign process as documented in a report titled “The Fallacious Vote: A Human Rights Account of the 2017 Political Party Primaries”
The report captures the issues collected in select parts of the country where the Commission was able to reach. The Commission, having learnt from its past experience in monitoring elections from a human rights perspective, was able to undertake strategic interventions that contributed in large measure to safeguarding the final voting process. The Commission observes that the country has made positive strides while noting the increased levels of awareness by the voters.
The Commission’s findings condemned the whole nomination process and found out that the political parties had flouted majority of the laws and thus compromising the quality of leaders that were presented on the final ballot to the voters. The primaries as conducted negated existing laws aimed at ensuring that leaders elected meet the ethical standards set out in Chapter 6 of the COK.
A voter on motorbike counts money dished out by an aspirant. (Right): Bribery in Nakuru County on 18th April 2017
The Commission commended the police for their conduct in managing crowds and conducting situations that in several places and instances threatened to get out of hand. The National Police Service exercised restraint and thus security provision around the campaign period indicated a National Police Service that is growing in understanding its role in safeguarding not just themselves but also citizens.
Noticeably, minimal cases of violence were recorded amidst heightened political temperatures is an indication of security agencies that worked seamlessly with various partners including grass root networks to ensure the electoral environment is safe for all to enjoy the fruits of democracy. There were two reported deaths at the hands of the security officers during the campaign period. These cases had been referred to IPOA to investigate and ensure justice is done.
During the Campaign period, the Commission continued to monitor the compliance of the laid out stipulations of the law regarding elections and the human rights issues that are associated with it. Its main focus were parameters which were generated from the election offences act that provided for the do’s and don’ts for various actors within the electoral cycle.
Namely; misuse of public resources, incitement, bribery, actions and inactions by security organs, unequal access to public resources and facilities, appropriateness and accessibility of polling venues, violence and security. Download the full report