The Kenyans go to the polls tomorrow to vote in the 2017 general election. CIVICUS are calling on the authorities and leaders of the political parties and communities to adhere to democratic principles and respect the will of all Kenyans. There is a history of violence during the election season in Kenya and there is a fear of recurrence this time round too. In the 2007-2008 elections, over 1,000 people were killed and around 500,000 were internally displaced.
Just last week Chris Msando – the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) head of Information, Communication and Technology – was found dead after missing for 3 days. He had played a key role in the development of a new electronic ballet and voter registration system. He had received death threats for his work. The new electronic system is regarded to eliminate vote rigging and thus ensure the credibility of elections in Kenya. His death raises concerns over threats of violence related to electoral malpractice.
This year’s election campaign has been dominated by an exchange of accusations between President Uluru Kenyatta and the main opposition leader Raila Odinga. President Uluru has accused Odinga of dividing Kenya and inciting violence, whilst Odinga has accused the President of planning to rig the elections. And whilst the previous 2013 elections were largely peaceful, violence erupted following 2007 elections after political figures encouraged their supporters to protests the results of the elections.
There has already been some violence amongst the rival parties and supporters during nominations of candidates for positions of power – president, legislators and local councilors. Furthermore, human rights defenders and journalists have been attacked, intimidated and vilified as they tried to access voter registration stations and polling stations and report on political campaigns. There is a worry of a recurrence of violence seen in the 2007-2008 elections.
CIVICUS has called on the Kenyan authorities, politicians and leaders to act in a responsible manner and respect the will of the electorate during and after the elections.
This article summarises the original article written by the CIVICUS Media team, which can found through this link: http://civicus.org/index.php/media-resources/media-releases/2913-civicus-calls-for-calm-and-respect-of-voters-rights-in-kenya-elections-3