NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – A report released Monday by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) indicates that Bungoma and Nairobi counties recorded the highest number of incidences of violence and bribery during party primaries concluded recently.
Commission Vice-Chairperson George Morara told Capital FM News that the emergence of Bungoma as a potential hotspot could be as a result of political realignments in the region which have heightened stakes in the local political scene.
“This region has undergone a lot of political mutation and that actually has heightened the stakes in this region and that partly contributes to violence witnessed in the region,” Morara observed.
“Although traditionally Bungoma has not been very free from violence. This has been one of the places where in past elections we’ve had to pay close attention to because we’ve had cases of intra-ethnic conflicts and that is only being fortified this time because of the realignments of the political forces in the region,” he added.
According to Morara there is need for deployment of more security officers in areas where rampant cases of violence and bribery were recorded as revealed in the report dubbed “The Fallacious Vote” in order to stem violence and voter bribery.
According to the study conducted between April and May, Bungoma accounted for 23 and 25 per cent of all cases of violence and bribery reported in 224 centres across 33 counties with Nairobi recording 11 and 17 per cent.
Eighty-four KNCHR monitors who conducted the study observed that Garissa and Kirinyaga County accounted for nine per cent of bribery cases each, with Kisumu, Kwale, Meru, Migori and Mombasa counties accounting for 8 per cent of the occurrences each.
On violence during primaries, Turkana county was third at 12 per cent followed by Mombasa, Migori, Kisumu, Kisii, Kirinyaga, Kericho, Isiolo, Tana River and Nakuru counties all accounting for six per cent of the cases.
“We encourage the security agencies where there’re high cases of violence and bribery to deploy more officers including those from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) so that they can go undercover and record all these cases and secure convictions so that we stop all these cases as we head to the polls,” Morara in an interview with Capital FM News.
While giving her speech during the launch of the report, KNCHR Chairperson Kagwira Mbogori recommended strict compliance to the election laws to root out malpractices witnessed during party nominations including taking disciplinary action against political parties which disregard the law.
“In some cases, political parties were taking names of people as though they went for a seminar of workshop as opposed to using party registers,” Mbogori said adding that no single party in areas observed used a party list for purposes of determining who was eligible to vote.
Other than absence of political party lists from polling centres, the report noted the high incidents of missing names where registers were present leading to either disenfranchisement of electors or the disbandment of the party lists altogether.
Incidences of insufficient voting materials, late opening of polling centres, inadequate security, intimidation and violence against marginalized populations were also witnessed during the nomination process, according to the report.
Going forward, KNCHR recommends among other measures proper intelligence gathering, accurate media reporting, de-registration of candidates and/or parties and enforcement of the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution so as to ensure all candidates meet the standards set in law.