from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – REPORTS of murder, violence against women, sexual assault and public disorder are threatening stability in Kenya after a poll that was relatively peaceful.
Tensions are mounting, also exacerbated by the rival Kenya Kwanza and Azimio candidates and their supporters apparently misinforming the electorate and the public on the electoral process and the election results.
On Thursday, the Police Reforms Working Group, an alliance of 21 human rights organisations, said it had documented a number of serious violations over the last 48 hours.
Two have resulted in death.
Kimilili Constituency Member of National Assembly, Didmus Barasa, is wanted for allegedly shooting dead Brian Olunga, a security aide Bryan Khaemba, who was challenging the legislator for the parliamentary seat.
The incident occurred on Tuesday after polls closed.
Barasa is a member of the United Democratic Alliance of frontrunner William Ruto, the flagbearer of the Kenya Kwanza coalition.
On Monday, a 35-year-old man has been stabbed to death by a friend during an altercation in Bungoma County.
The alleged killer has been arrested but prior to that, residents effected mob justice and injured him.
The Women’s Elections Situation Room has documented violence against women in at least 200 polling stations. There are also serious allegations of a police officer sexually assaulting an officer of the National Youth Service officer in Bungoma.
Police have also shot a man in Uasin Gishu County during a confrontation between supporters of gubernatorial candidates, Jonathan Bii and Ezekiel Bundotich.
Tension between supporters in the Nyali Constituency led to gunshots being fired.
The Police Reforms Working Group urged candidates to maintain high standards of leadership integrity as tallying and declaration of results continues.
“Lastly, we send our deepest sympathy to the victims’ families and wish all injured survivors a quick recovery,” the grouping of human rights organisations stated.
Meanwhile, some civil society organisation have admonished concern the rising levels of false or misleading information on results being shared on social media a day after the polls closed.
Unofficial results indicate Ruto and Raila Odinga are neck-in-neck in the presidential election.
The pair is exchanging a lead of slightly over 50 percent in some trackers updated hourly. While the other candidates, David Waihiga and George Wajackoyah, are unlikely to win, they may prevent Odinga and Ruto from gaining a majority win.
Amnesty International Kenya, KICTANET, SDGs Kenya Forum and Fumbua Campaign warned the online proclamations could heighten the risks of any electoral related violence, undermining public trust in the electoral process and unsubstantiated partisan claims of rigging.
The Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is by law mandated to release results seven days after polls.
The civil society organisations urged IEBC to disseminate “evidence-based, transparent, swift, and regular” electoral updates.
“Only this will counter the rising tensions among the electorate, frequency of false and misleading information and will entrench trust among Kenyans at this significant time in our nation.”
Wafula Chebukati, IEBC chairperson, said the commission appreciated Kenyans for continued patience as the process to collate and tally results continued.
“The commission calls for patience as it undertakes this exercise,” he stated on Thursday afternoon.
Kenya Police Service, which had not commented on the reports of violence, commended public for supporting efforts in securing a peaceful, free and fair election.
“We are glad that many Kenyans have gone back to their different toils as they await pronouncement by the IEBC,” KPS stated.
The East African nation has a reputation for post-electoral controversy and violence.
Odinga’s near-victory in 2007 led to widespread disturbances, in which 1 100 people were killed after the poll result was hotly disputed.
The 2017 outcome was in the courts because of vote rigging.
– CAJ News