Private meetings recipe for malpractice – KNCHR

A human rights group yesterday raised concerns over closed-door campaign meetings held by some politicians.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights argued the meetings could be a recipe for electoral malpractice.

Basing its argument on a report presented by its election monitors, it said such meetings have been reported in six counties — Bungoma, Kakamega, Kisii, Kwale, Meru and Mombasa.

The commission in May assigned election monitors to 29 counties.

Speaking in Nairobi on Friday, KNCHR vice chairman George Morara said political leaders conducted meetings past the legal time for campaigning.

In a gazette notice dated March 17, the IEBC stated campaigns should not be conducted past 6pm.

The commission has said it will present its findings to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and it expects action from the authorities.

“Our commission has the names of those involved and you will soon see us presenting the names to the ODPP and the IEBC,” Morara said.

Misappropriation of Public funds

The commission questioned the involvement of Cabinet Secretaries in partisan politics, further indicating they used state resources.

Morara pointed out that some public offices published advertisements aimed at campaigning for the government.

“A number of Cabinet Secretaries as well as other public officers [are] openly campaigning on partisan political lines or openly misusing public resources for political functions,” he said.

The state officials have also been accused of using relief and subsidised foods to campaign for the government.

The observation was made in Kwale, Laikipia, Machakos and Samburu counties.

The commission has further raised concern over the mass movement of voters due to insecurity.

Laikipia, Baringo, Samburu and Pokot counties have been cited as areas currently experiencing mass movements, mostly by pastoral communities.

Counties mapped to be under militia threats include Garissa, Lamu, Mandera and Wajir.

“In Mandera county, Fino ward, the threat of al Shabaab has made it impossible for IEBC officials to conduct recruitment of presiding officers,” Morara said.

Need for accountability

The commission has further asked for accountability of public resources by state officials, citing that some of them are using these in campaigns.

Other issues raised include increased level of political intolerance, late recruitment of constituency-level election officials, low level of civic education, controversial publication of the voter register and the ongoing stand-off that saw the cancellation of the tender for printing presidential ballot papers.

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