By Sammi Nderitu
Kenya’s highly anticipated and contested general election has finally taken place. It had been several weeks of highly charged campaigns with politicians traversing the country in search of votes.
In preparation for the elections, we deployed 121 elections monitors across various counties, specifically the ones that had been earmarked as ‘hot spot zones’ by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC). Besides observing the electoral process, the monitors’ main task was to actively document cases of harassment, torture and violence that are perpetrated by state officers as well as track cases of gender-based and sexual violence.
In keeping up with updates from our election monitors in various counties, the Election’s Hub set up a ‘Sit-Rep’ that included IMLU Board members and Staff. A section of the staff members was allocated 15 monitors each and was required to keep constant communications through phone calls and WhatsApp updates. The staff would report their findings from the monitors every at 12 pm and 6 pm during the Sit-Rep online meeting.
The Sit-Rep has been resourceful in providing detailed reports from the field and collecting primary data on actual happening.
While to a large extent the elections went on peacefully, our monitors on the ground observed a few hitches that marred the electoral process at various polling stations.
- Delay is opening polling stations.
- Delay in the delivery of polling materials.
- Unorganized queuing in several polling stations due to the mix-up of the voter listing.
- KIEMS kits failing to identify some voters and consequently voters are being turned away.
- Postponement of voting for the governors’ positions in Mombasa and Kakamega and MP seat in Rongai, Nakuru due to ballot having incorrect information or missing.
According to the electoral commission, (IEBC), 12,065,803 voters out of the 22 million participated in the election, with the majority voting through the biometric system. The commission estimated that the final turnout would be around 60 per cent, which would be one of the lowest in the country’s voting history.
In 2017, the final turnout was 78 per cent for the General Election while in 2013, the turnout was 86 per cent. The 2007 poll had 68 per cent of the registered voters casting their ballots.
From our monitors, we received of the 714 reports since 9th August to date through our tracking App. Out of these, 85 featured incident reports that are related to electoral malpractices. In 42 of these incidents, police were able to contain them in a professional manner.
During Election day, our monitors documented 33 instances of Human Rights violations. Since the declaration of the results, we have continued to monitor activities in various counties where we have placed monitors.