ICC should warn politicians across divide against inciting violence

Ensuring credible, violence-free Kenya election

The official campaigns for August 2017 Kenya election have begun. The election will be highly volatile and vicious contest that requires high threshold of integrity, credibility and transparency. Political parties should reaffirm their commitment to credible and peaceful polls. Electoral body (IEBC) should continue to enhance transparency and confidence in the electoral process by expanding and intensifying its engagement through active consultation with stakeholders and public outreach.

International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) is strongly calling on the political parties and their supporters to act with restraint and take concrete steps to prevent election-related violence.

We note that one unique feature of a well-entrenched constitutional, democratic and credible electoral democracy is a neutral security agencies. Biased security institutions create an atmosphere of heightened tension and lose their credibility in the process.

ICPC warns Kenya security agencies to be impartial in providing security pre, during and after elections. It is particularly important that security agencies provide security for elections in an impartial manner in accordance with Articles 238(2) and 239(30 of the Constitution of Kenya.

When security services and other state actors who are supposed to act independently and impartially are thought to be taking sides, it creates spite and rancor. This is what happened with 2007 general election with serious ramifications to the country’s security and ece4onomic stability.

ICPC is especially deeply concerned that the President in unconstitutional step in May 2016 placed the National Intelligence Service (NIS) under his control. NIS has strongly been accused of political bias, unprofessionalism and unconstitutional acts. We want to urge incumbency to resist any temptation to meddle or interfere with the outcome of the election which is capable of impugning its credibility and integrity.

ICPC is calling upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to send strong clear message to all political and civic sides in Kenya that while every citizen has fundamental rights and freedoms to make their own choice and expression, electoral competition must not lead to violence and crimes.  The Court must make it clear it is willing to take prompt steps against anyone( whether in government or outside)  who commits, orders, incites, encourages or contributes in any other way to the commission of atrocity crimes falling within the jurisdiction of ICC to deter violence and commission of crimes. ICC has jurisdictions in Kenya.  The electoral process should not feed a sense of impunity on the part of those responsible for commission of electoral related crimes. On the contrary, it should strengthen the rule of law and the fight against impunity

We are demanding that Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) conduct a free, credible and violence free elections in the country. An election that is transparently free and fair, devoid of malpractices and violence. Elections that would further unite rather than divide the country.

We are emphasizing that all state institutions responsible for the administration and security of an election must fulfill their mandates impartially. An election is a mechanism by which people are able to exercise their political, civil and human rights at no cost.

The Kenya electorate owes a duty to their conscience and to their nation to cast their votes only for those political parties and aspirants who have the integrity, competence, sense of service, selflessness and patriotism needed for the overall transformation of the country. Voters should not engage in vote-selling through collection of cash or material things from political parties or politicians to vote persons without vision and sense of service.

Executive Director

International Center for Policy and Conflict