All the stake holders right from the commission play and important role in ensuring peace is maintained in the country as Kenya awaits the National elections on 9th August .The commission is responsible for conducting supervising elections as prescribed by the constitution, it can do all this by ensuring the continuous registration of voters without biasness and also regulate the voters roll. The commission should ensure right from the party nomination they conduct the process with adherence to rules. The commission should also settle all electoral disputes arising from nominations but excluding petitions and disputes subsequent to the declaration of the election results . The commission should conduct civic voter education, facilitate the observation, monitoring and evaluation of the elections. The commission should also regulate the amount of money spent by or on behalf of in respect of any election. Lastly the commission should develop a code of conduct for candidates and parties contesting elections.
The political parties also play a vital role it must fulfill the two major conditions among others to be registered .The party should recruit at least 1000 members from each or at least 24 as well as minorities and the marginalized and people with disabilities and reflecting gender sensitive where governing council doesn’t exceed two thirds of either gender. The party should be subject to the directions of the registrar of the political parties as well as its official satisfying chapter 6 of the constitution on leadership and integrity .The party should adhere to all this roles in ensuring credibility in the elections.
The police and security stakeholders also play part in ensuring fair elections. The officers are assigned duties by the electoral commission and the state to perform security duties during elections. They safeguard the polling process, protect the transportation of election materials and equipment, ensure security of election of election to maintain law and order by apprehending offenders.
political parties in Kenya to foster an enabling environment for peaceful elections and prevent election-related violence, as the country prepares to hold general elections on 9 August. Civic space, public participation, fundamental freedoms and a violence-free environment are critical to foster inclusive engagement in the electoral process, and the exercise of political rights. The UN experts urged all stakeholders in Kenya to respect and uphold the right to political participation, freedoms of assembly, of association, of opinion and expression, and to respect the role of an independent judiciary in elections.
They noted that political tensions and violence during the campaign period as well as hate speech and incitement by candidates and their supporters have a dangerous potential to ignite or fan flames of violence. All those involved in the electoral process must commit themselves to peaceful conduct prior, during and after elections. Candidates and political parties must refrain from using inflammatory language which may lead to violence and human rights abuses, particularly against women, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ+ individuals or ethnic groups,” the experts said.
Past cycles of Kenyan elections have been marked by violence and human rights violations, including loss of life and sexual and gender-based violence. Concerns about such alleged violations have been raised by several UN experts in a joint communication to the Government of Kenya following the 2017 elections. Authorities must take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations during the current elections, including ensuring accountability. They must also vigorously pursue accountability for election-related violations and sexual violence committed during previous elections, to break cycles of violence and prevent recurrence,” the experts said, and noted that “Perpetrators who committed human rights violations during past elections are yet to be held accountable.”
The experts also noted the impact that repeated violence during past elections has had on the right to political participation, particularly for women candidates and voters. They urged Kenyan authorities to take specific measures to ensure women can participate freely in the electoral process, without discrimination, harassment or fear of potential repetition of sexual and gender-based violence, considering its long-term consequences.
“The right to participate in public life, including the right to vote and stand for election without fear of violence is at the core of democratic governance,” the experts said. “Gendered hate speech, any verbal or online threats, intimidation or violence against women candidates and voters must be prevented and promptly addressed to ensure their meaningful participation in the elections process.”The UN experts also urged authorities to ensure civil society, human rights defenders, election monitors and journalists can conduct their legitimate work without intimidation or reprisals. “They play a crucial role during elections to contribute to a free and inclusive electoral process and the credibility of results,” the experts said.
Welcoming the commitment by authorities to refrain from communications shutdowns during the election period, the experts said maintaining internet access and telecommunications was key to protecting civic space.
They also recalled the importance of respecting the right to peaceful assembly guaranteed by the Constitution of Kenya, during the electoral process. “Human rights defenders and journalists have a right to monitor and report on assemblies, and they must be protected and not obstructed during the exercise of these functions.”
“Effective law enforcement and public order management should facilitate the exercise of political rights and fundamental freedoms including the right to assembly by prioritizing measures to de-escalate tensions, including through dialogue,” the experts said. The application of elections security management guidelines, that facilitate, respect and protect human rights and fundamentals freedoms will be critical to secure the right to political participation,” the experts added welcoming the collaboration between key institutions, including the judiciary, in the electoral preparedness in the country.
The UN experts emphasized the importance of creating an enabling environment for peaceful and inclusive elections that will deliver upon the aspirations of Kenyan
Recognizing the need for smart interventions to counter the evolving trends of online hate speech, UWIANO has established a Peace Messaging Hub which expanded membership to leading peacebuilding stakeholders as well as a cutting-edge technological consortium to connect UWIANO’s online and offline analysis with appropriate responses. With support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), has access to cutting-edge technological tools and expertise to monitor and analyze social media platforms for mis/disinformation, hate speech and incitement. This analysis is accompanied by a complementary artificial intelligence intervention to identify and recruit micro and nano influencers to counter hate speech and spread impactful narrative.
Youth account for 75% of the country’s total population. Hence their participation in the election and election process determines how Kenya meets its immediate, medium, and long-term development aspirations as envisaged in Vision 2030. During the launch, the UWIANO Platform for Peace members called on the youth to construct steady and peaceful societies and develop policies that respond to the specific needs of the younger generation to achieve SDG 16 of the 2030 agenda, ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.’
“To turn around Kenya towards becoming a peaceful country we require efforts that not only target the young people, but also those initiated by the youth for the young people. Effective participation of youth in politics is fundamental to democratic development both in Kenya and generally around the globe. Therefore, initiatives targeting the youth such as the Let Peace Win and Elections Bila Noma campaigns are critical to promoting peace, and safeguarding development gains and stability,” said Dr. Rev Samuel Kobia, the NCIC Chairman.
Definitely all the stakeholders play a big role in ensuring credibility in the election. The voters, the officer, the officials should all play their part. Hopefully Kenya will conduct a free and fair election.