Party primaries were flawed, shows KNCHR report

Agents inspect ballot boxes before voting begins. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Nairobi, KENYA: The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights KNCHR has called on concerned bodies to take legal action on individuals and political parties who flouted electoral laws during the recently concluded party primaries.

Chairperson of the Commission Kagwiria Mbogori on Monday noted with concern that there were a myriad of irregularities and cases of malpractice reported by their monitors.

“It is time the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission IEBC, Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP), the National Assembly and the Senate to take appropriate action to ensure a smooth electoral cycle,” Ms. Mbogori said during the release of their report The Fallacious Vote, which highlights the irregularities experienced during the primaries.

The Chairperson also called for improved intelligence gathering by the security agencies to identify potential actionable threats to a free and far electoral process.

Media was advised by the Commission to maintain balanced coverage of the elections to ensure that the members of the 4th Estate adhered to the code of conduct put out by the Media Council of Kenya.

According to the report released  in Nairobi on Monday, KNCHR noted that 12 cases of bribery were reported in 5 counties where aspirants openly dished out money to influence voting patterns.

“Voters were enticed with items such as water. The Commission recorded 17 cases of violence on aspirants and supporters. This ranged from cases of rape, alleged abductions, use of firearms and crude weapons,” remarked Lucas Kimanthi, Senior Human Rights Officer, KNCHR while releasing findings of the survey.

Mr. Kimanthi commented that there cases of lack of sufficient voting materials in various polling stations.

“Of the 220 centers monitored 34 lacked voting materials and with much concern ballot papers. Voters had their names missing in the political parties register.114 centres had cases of voters missing their names in the registers,” he continued.

Other pertinent issues raised by the report were late opening and early closing of polling stations, intimidation and violence against the marginalized.

“Misuse of public resources was witnessed whereby in Elgeyo Marakwet County a county government vehicle was used to transport voting material and resources,” Mr. Kimanthi said.

The Chairperson remarked that state officers and more so Cabinet Secretaries CS were involving themselves with partisan politics.

“A CS participating in the electioneering process through endorsing a political candidate is in contravention of the Constitution.” Ms. Mbogoria concluded.

The Commission employed 84 election monitors in 33 counties who recorded the goings-on during the recently concluded stiffly contested party primaries.