By Civic Space Africa
The Election Observation Group (ELOG) Kenya, an organization that promotes inclusive, transparent and accountable electoral processes, has released its preliminary report on the 4th March, 2021 By-elections. ELOG says it is concerned with the electoral malpractices witnessed which include bribery, violence and intimidation. But ELOG appreciated that the “protocols for conducting elections under COVID 19 environment were generally adhered to”.
The seven electoral areas aremKabuchai (MNA), Matungu (MNA), Kitise Kithuki (CAW), London (CAW), Huruma (CAW), Kiamokama (CAW) and Hell’s Gate (CAW).
In a statement signed by Mr. Mulle Musau, the ELOG National Coordinator, the observer group recommends that the following issues should be addressed:
• Electoral security is critical for the conduct of credible, free and fair elections. Evidence of violence, insecurity and intimidation seen in these electoral areas is an indication of lack of preparedness of security apparatus and inadequate preparedness.
• Cases of harassment as was witnessed during the by-elections are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in any civilized conduct of electoral processes. In this regard, ELOG calls for speedy investigation on these incidences and firm legal action taken on the perpetrators.
• There is a need for strict adherence to electoral code of conduct as well as strict enforcement of election offence regime to address the rising cases of electoral related violence, bribery claims and other offences that continue to assault electoral integrity.
• While elections are both national and local, it is important for local elections to be driven and overseen by local actors. The presence of the so called “super agents” 5 and other national leaders in a local election creates tension, and intimidation of voters in these electoral areas.