ELECTIONS 2022 AND KENYA’S ADHERENCE TO ITS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS
Kenya should take all necessary steps ahead of the 2022 elections to prevent violence, acording to the Human Rights Committee
In 2021, Kenya was reviewed by the Human Rights Committee on its implementation of rights contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As a result of the review the Committee recommended that; Kenya should take all necessary steps ahead of the 2022 elections to prevent violence and ensure the effective and independent functioning of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. It was also recommended that Kenya should adopt all measures necessary to ensure transparency in voting and vote counting procedures.
In many of the previous elections, debates and preparations for elections in Kenya has mainly been preoccupied with matters of voter registration, voter education, voting and vote counting, and declaration of results. In addition, the level of preparedness of the electoral body, its credibility and that of the electoral systems have become pivotal.
However, the issue of electoral security and police preparedness to secure the electoral environment has not received that much prominence despite being flagged out following the 2008 post elections violence. This year however we saw more effort by the National Police Service to ensure effective preparedness of the election.
- a) Launched the Election Security Management Manual for Police Commander: The Manual is a reference handbook for Police Commanders to ensure that the Police roles and responsibilities during elections are carried out professionally and consistently. It considers the potential impact of insecurity on the integrity of elections and provides a set considerations regarding election security planning and management practices or procedures.
- b) Training of Policing agencies on elections preparedness: In a bid to increase the capacities of officers the NPS rolled out the training of security officers sourced from the NPS, Kenya Prisons Service, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and National Youth Service (NYS).
- c) Deployment of Police Recruits in Electoral Security: in March 2022, the NPS conducted a mass recruitment of 5000 officers. The NPS intends to deploy these recruits to meet the requisite numbers to police the elections.
On 9 th August 2022, 65 percent of the 22.12 million registered voters turned up to cast their ballots. The drop in numbers was blamed on lack of voter education, low interest by the youth, reduced trust and confidence in the political system, poverty and youth unemployment. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) quickly posted scanned copies of the results forms from polling stations and constituencies on its public website. This allowed political candidates, the media, analysts and interested citizens to see the data for themselves, and, if they so wished, to conduct their own tabulations. While some misinformation surfaced, this was quickly rebutted by access to the primary data.
On 15 th August 2022, Samoei Ruto was declared as the winner after garnering 50.5% of the votes. But chaos erupted minutes before the results were announced, with four out of seven electoral commissioners saying they disowned the outcome, which they termed “opaque”. As news of the results filtered through to Odinga’s stronghold of Kisumu, there were some outbreaks of violence. In one area, protesters congregated on a roundabout, throwing stones, setting tyres on fire and throwing up roadblocks with broken rocks. However, the election was largely peaceful.
This election was termed as the most progressive in terms of gender equality as we saw 7 women elected as governors, 8 elected women deputy governors, 3 women senators and 30 women as elected members of parliament. This election also saw 17 elected young persons in various positions; One (1) male youth governor two (2) male youth senators, three (3) male youth Members of Parliament, one (1) female youth (Woman Member to the National Assembly), and 10 male youth to the County Assemblies. 5 persons with disabilities were also elected in various positions.
Mr. Raila Odinga has however disputed the results and filed a case at the supreme court challenging the declaration of Samoei Ruto as the President Elect. The supreme court has two weeks to render a verdict as to the outcome of the elections.