Kenyan Election: KPTJ challenges IEBC and Registrar of Parties; Police remain unready; “Minefield” for Women

From the Sunday press conference of Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice, the released statement below warrants a careful reading.  Leading Kenyan civil society groups make it clear that:

the institutions charged with the regulation of political affairs have displayed a disturbing reluctance to enforce their respective mandates with regard to regulating political competition and ensuring adherence to electoral laws. The IEBC has displayed, within the last week, a tendency to buckle under to political pressure by repeatedly shifting timelines relating to the submission of nomination lists at the whim of the stronger political parties. This reinforces concerns around the independence of the IEBC, which were already raised in connection with the intervention by the executive in procurement of biometric voter registration (BVR) equipment.
The IEBC has also displayed a ‘hands off’ policy with regard to its regulatory mandate in respect of the nominations exercise. This is of particular concern because the IEBC will have to make bold decisions and interventions at the March 4th general elections if the country is to observe a credible, peaceful, free and fair election. Of further concern is the huge delay in rolling out civic education. This is despite the forthcoming elections being of an unprecedented nature in the history of elections in the country.

. . . .

The IEBC is required to regulate and monitor the process by which political parties nominate their candidates. The Commission only monitored that process and did not in any way regulate it. It was left to political parties to regulate themselves with disastrous consequences.
The Registrar of Political Parties has displayed an unwillingness to enforce her mandate and powers conferred upon her office by the Political Parties Act to rein in rogue political actors. . . .

KPTJ Statement on Political Party Nominations and mandate of IEBC 27.1.13

“Are Kenyan Police Ready for Elections?:  Force still under-resourced and poorly equipped as March polls approach”, from the Institute of War and Peace Reporting,

As a result of the bloodshed, the government launched a programme of reforms to turn the police into a more accountable and professional force. Although the appointment of an inspector-general in December is seen as an important step forward, experts warn that the force still lacks the skills and equipment to contain outbreaks of violence around the April elections.

“Kenyans should not expect much difference in terms of capacity and professionalism from the police because they have not acquired much [since 2008],” Simiyu Werunga, a security consultant who heads the African Centre for Security and Strategic Studies, told IWPR.

“Women Navigate a Political Minefield in Kenya,” IPS, Inter Press Service:

Blatant discrimination, threats and intimidations, an uneven playing field and a largely unsympathetic public have turned electoral politics into a veritable minefield for women hoping to secure top government posts.

Despite adopting a more gender sensitive constitution back in 2010, in which Article 81(b) stipulates that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender, male-dominated parties continue to make a farce of the little political space offered to women.

“The Long Road to Internal Party Democracy” from The Star via

MAJOR NEWS SCOOP: Sunday Nation-“Kenya among the best in filing reports on women’s rights”

I think this is really beyond the need for any comment:

Posted Sunday, March 7 2010 at 20:14

Kenya has been ranked among the top performers in Africa who have filed periodic reports on progress made in implementing a UN convention that champions the rights of women.

But the country has been submitting these reports two years, and in some instances, seven years later than the date set by the UN Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) committee.

Dorcus Coker-Appiah, a committee member of the convention, said Kenya was one of the countries in Africa trying hard to comply with reporting requirements.

The country has submitted six reports, the last being in 2006, since it ratified the convention 26 years ago. It is yet to submit the seventh report which was due in 2009.

Countries are expected to present their first report a year after ratifying the convention and then after every four years.

Kenya’s performance is rated good on a continent where some countries have not submitted a single report since they ratified the treaty more than 10 years ago.

Botswana, Central Africa Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone and Swaziland are some of the countries that are yet to submit a single report.

— By Arthur Okwemba, in New York