An election will take place in Kenya this coming Tuesday, August 9.
It is expected that 22.1 million registered Kenyans will go to the polls to elect the country’s fifth president and successor to the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Peace Brigades International-Kenya Project has been providing workshops on safety and security in the lead-up to the vote.
On July 26, PBI-Kenya tweeted:
“Last week, we supported human rights defenders from Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, and Kakamega Social Justice Centre in assessing their safety and security situation, particularly during this election period. This activity enabled the HRDS [human rights defenders] to identify the risks. Based on these risks, they could identify security and safety needs/gaps, develop mitigation measures, and develop a security plan.”
On July 11, PBI-Kenya also tweeted:
“Last week, we supported the human rights defenders from Mombasa and Kilifi County Social Justice Centers in developing safety measures for their centers. This training aimed at enabling participants to assess their current safety as Kenya prepares for its general elections, establish safety and protection policies and protocols to be adapted in the running of centers during and after elections.”
Now, on August 5, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has posted:
“Despite the early warnings on the potential for an electoral crisis, and continued pledges by the government to address election-related sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), the run-up to the 9 August election has been marred by violence targeting women. Several rapes have been recorded during the campaign period, including four cases following the failed Jacaranda campaign rally on 19 June 2022.”
“Women in politics have also faced aggressive sexist language, gender-based violence, gender stereotyping, online gendered abuse, and sexual harassment — including sexual overtures as they were seeking party certificates to vie for leadership positions. These tactics deliberately prevent women politicians or candidates from participating in politics.”
On August 3, CIVICUS posted:
“According to the new research brief [by CIVICUS and the Kenya Human Rights Commission], Kenyan authorities have used excessive force to clamp down on protests and suppress dissent in the run-up to the election. Recent demonstrations to protest the rising cost of food under the hashtag #Njaa-Revolution (‘Hunger Revolution’) have been met with unlawful arrests, detention, and brutal force; in April, human rights defender Julius Kamau was violently assaulted outside the National Treasury after protesting rising food prices. Lethal and crowd control weapons such as live ammunition, teargas, and rubber bullets are commonly used by police to disperse gatherings.”
“Attacks on freedom of speech extend to journalists. Incidents and violations against the press are on the rise ahead of elections, including the assault of two journalists covering an event at Raila Odinga’s party headquarters in March 2022. …The apparent political capture of the country’s media regulatory body has also contributed to a decline in press freedom.”
And on August 1, Human Rights Watch warned:
“The failure of Kenyan authorities to address accountability for past abuses by police heightens the risk of police abuse around the August 9, 2022, general elections, Human Rights Watch said today. Kenya has a history of election-related violence including excessive, unlawful use of force by police, with few, if any, police officers held to account.”
“Victims’ families, activists, government officials, and police officers, have expressed concerns about possible violence if the August 9 presidential election results are disputed. In the aftermath of the 2017 elections, Human Rights Watch and other Kenyan and international human rights organizations documented killings by police and armed gangs, of 104 people, most of the victims being supporters of the then main opposition party, the National Super Alliance (NASA). With just seven days to another general election, Kenyan authorities have yet to take steps to ensure justice for police abuses that characterized the 2017 general elections, or to credibly investigate allegations that police are involved in recent extrajudicial killings.”
PBI established a project in Kenya in December 2012, to provide support and protection to human rights defenders during a period of expected heightened risk during the March 2013 presidential elections.
We continue to follow this situation.