Misinformation was the greatest challenge during the August 2022 General Elections.
This is according to Mombasa based human rights group Haki Africa.
While releasing their ‘Preliminary results of Election 2022 Observation’ on Friday, Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid said that misinformation was perhaps the greatest challenge Haki Africa had faced so far.
“There is a lot of deliberate spread of information that is not verified which is causing anxiety and raising tensions among members of the public,” said Hussein Khalid.
Haki Africa noted that although the public are aware that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are the ones to give the final results, there are many on social media who are propagating misinformation contrary to the rules.
“Of particular note are politicians and their aides who are involved in sending out misleading and/or unverified information about the outcomes of the elections,” said Hussen Khalid.
“The message they are giving out is that it is impossible for their side to lose while they are aware that in an election there is a winner and loser and that it could be anyone,” he added.
In their preliminary report, Haki Africa called out politicians saying some had been involved in raising tension and some engaging in physical confrontations.
He said incidents of politicians being involved in such acts were witnessed in Mombasa, Nairobi, Kilifi and other parts of the country.
“While members of the public restrained themselves, politicians on their part have so far failed the litmus test and engaged in violence. In one incident in Bungoma, a politician has been accused of shooting and killing an aid of a competitor,” the Haki Africa Executive Director noted.
“In Mombasa, gunshots were fired when politicians faced each other. The same was reported in Kilifi, Mathare and other parts of the country,” he added.
In the report, Haki Africa commended public for being peaceful and maintaining law and order in all parts of the country.
Haki Africa also commended the police saying that Haki Africa observers in various parts of the country shared that police have been quick in quelling disquiet and responded rapidly to deal with insecurity threats.
“However, while the police did a good job generally, there were also isolated cases of police harassment and torture in different parts of the country including Mombasa. Haki Africa has so far supported the treatment of at least two persons who were beaten by police and injured,” the preliminary results revealed.
Haki Africa’s report, however, shows that to a large extent so far, the elections have been free and fair.