By Jackie Kwanusu
CRECO Executive Director Mr. Joshua Chepkwony gave a snippet of why Civil society organizations had organized this gathering, this symposium seeks to consolidate gains from the 2022 electoral processes for improved 2027 elections in Kenya. 27 successful elections later since Kenyans first voted in 1920, 7 elections post multiparty democracy and 3 elections under the 2010 constitution dispensation, we are still battling electoral malpractices which in return lead to human rights violations, the more things change, the more they remain the same as human rights violations are known to be rampant during elections, the human rights violations occur in three stages; Before, During and After Elections with Post Election Violence Being the Deadliest and with that Civil Society Organizations have taken time to review the August 9th 2022 general election which was herald as one of the most transparent and peaceful in recent times in our electoral history.
It is equally important to note that human rights are safeguarded during the entire process since human rights violations experienced during the electioneering periods have unprecedented impacts, especially on marginalized groups including women and persons with disabilities. As part of upholding human rights and civil liberties, it is paramount that we put in place an enabling environment for citizens to be a vital part of a healthy and functional democracy.
Electoral security remains a key component in the manner in which human rights are upheld while enhancing voter confidence, the integrity of records, turnout or election results as many can exercise their right of choice as enshrined in the bill of rights without fear or intimidation. The police are being commended for upholding the rule of law while respecting human rights in the 2022 elections. IMLU did reiterate that between Jan- October 2022, the institution had recorded 115 incidences of human rights violations with 5 fatalities that were not necessarily attributed to the police as much as they happened during the electoral context, cognizant of the mandate of IMLU, we are still emphasizing that the security agencies should continue to maintain law and order at all times as we continue to monitor their conduct when it comes to public order management.
Speaker after speaker, the symposium was praised as a good way of consolidating results by-elections management bodies who compromise of both state and non-state actors and how we can be better poised for the 2027 elections, of key significance are Community Policing Committees and community dialogues that IMLU did employ which has been echoed as a great advocacy tool in educating the security forces on their mandate while respecting human rights.
ELGIA Executive Director Mr. Felix Odhiambo noted with concern the latest happenings around the 4 commissioners dubbed the Cherara Four, in his remarks, he pointed out that removal of the 4 IEBC commissioners will not necessarily guarantee a free and fair election but rather stringent measures should be taken to protect the commission as mandated in our
Our constitution is made up of 200 articles, chapter 6 begins with you and me and for us to be able to safeguard and protect our civic space that is already eroded, we should endeavour to remember that the backstops with all of us and exercise our rights to vote with integrity for we are the people that we elect.