, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) is now recommending stern action against political parties and candidates who have, and continue to contravene election laws.
Speaking on Monday during the launch of a report on how political parties conducted their primaries, KNCHR Chairperson Kagwira Mbogori said there was need to crack the whip on errant political parties for the electoral process to be safeguarded.
“Action must be taken against parties and candidates who did not adhere to the primaries process, including de-registration of implicated parties or barring of implicated candidates from further participation in the ongoing electoral process,” She recommended.
Mbogori who presided over the launch of the report dubbed “The Fallacious Vote” noted that there was need for accurate reporting by the media to see that political formations are held to account as well as ensure strict compliance to Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity to ensure the country gets rid of errant politicians and parties.
“The Chapter Six Working Group should take on board the financial probity of the respective candidates by getting their records from institutions such as the Kenya Revenue Authority, Credit Reference Bureau, Commission for University Education and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to ensure that only men and women who meet their requirements of Chapter Six are allowed to vie,” she proposed in a raft of recommendations put forward in the KNCHR report.
According to the report conducted in 224 centres across 33 counties by 84 commission monitors, none of the political parties that took part in primaries used party lists in identifying who was eligible to vote as envisaged in law.
The study further revealed a huge number of violence and bribery incidents recorded in perceived strongholds of the Orange Democratic Movement and Jubilee Party during recently concluded party primaries.
The ODM party led in occurrences of violence at 53 per cent followed by JP which accounted for 35 per cent of all the cases recorded, the Commission’s Senior Human Rights officer Lukas Kimathi noted while giving findings of the study.
The Amani National Congress (ANC) and Forum for Restoration of Democracy-Kenya (FORD-K) accounted for six per cent of the cases of violence reported.
“Migori County for instance where people used machetes and this is something that we must discourage as we head to the General Election,” Kimathi said during the event to unveil the study held at a Nairobi hotel.
The Jubilee Party, on the other hand, recorded 59 per cent of bribery cases with ODM following in the second position at 25 per cent.
Again, ANC and FORD-K featured in the list with each accounting for 8 per cent of bribery cases reported during primaries.
Also recorded were cases of missing names from party registers with Baringo, Kiambu and Murang’a counties leading.
Meru, Kisii, Bungoma, Elgeyo Marakwet and Isiolo also featured prominently in the list which also had Kajiado, Nandi and Tana River counties appear among the top 10 counties with the highest number of complainants whose names were said to be missing in the respective party lists.
“The issue of missing names is largely attributed to the fact that most parties didn’t have proper registers in place,” Kimathi said.
Commission Vice-Chairperson George Morara party primaries were marred with massive irregularities bordering on the violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct.
He observed that issuance of tokens such as drinking water in polling stations during nominations amounted to voter bribery.
“You’re not supposed to unduly influence voters, engage in actions that would be seen as outright bribery. As a commission, we’re compiling all the cases recorded and we shall give those mentioned the right of reply but most importantly forward the list to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for appropriate action,” Morara told Capital FM News in an interview later.
“Most importantly though we hope that the Working Group on Chapter Six of the Constitution under the leadership of the Attorney General will take into account some of these cases and take appropriate action including barring the candidates from vying,” he added.
Morara pointed out that the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) “remained the weakest link in managing elections” but however noted that there was need to boost the staff numbers at ORPP in order to enhance their role as regulators of political parties.
“There is no party that should have gone out there (and) conducted elections without a credible party register as happened. It is high time if we want to establish a credible party culture in this country we strengthen the ORPP so that it is able to enforce the existing laws.”
Other parties put under scrutiny in the study conducted between April and May are the Wiper Democratic Movement, Kenya African National Union, Chama Cha Mashinani, Party of National Unity AND Citizens Convention Party.