On March 4, 2014 Kenya conducted a general election, which was historic for several reasons. It was the first general election since the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2010; and it was the first election in which voters would choose candidates for six positions each, the majority of which were newly created by the Constitution. The 2013 elections also ushered in a devolved system of government. Against the background of the 2007 elections that ended in the disaster of the 2008 postelection violence, concern was high that a repeat be avoided.
Many of the Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice’s individual members have been monitoring Kenya’s electoral processes for many years. This gained urgency in the wake of the post-election violence, when the KPTJ coalition was formed as a response. This work continued around the 2013 elections and KPTJ and its individual members issued opinion editorials, publications, open letters and memoranda around various issues of concern in the period before, during and after the elections.
It is from this body of work that this compilation and the accompanying CD ROM is largely – but not exclusively – drawn.
One year after the elections and the historic Supreme Court petitions, KPTJ has found it important to offer the public a compilation of articles that will hopefully act as a vivid reminder of these events, and a spur to future action. This collection of articles written around the 2013 elections, from the procurement of BVR kits to the final Supreme Court judgment, should serve to remind us, one year on, that there is still much work to be done in securing elections that adhere to constitutional standards at a legal, institutional and political level.
The Supreme Court’s decision was final and settled the question of who was to be sworn in as the President of Kenya. However, the position of civil society has always been that, regardless of who wins particular elections, it is essential that we get our institutions and systems to function effectively and accountably. In a statement released on 16 March 2013, KPTJ stressed that its petition focused on the election process rather than the presidential results, with the aim of protecting the Constitution and safeguarding the future of democratic elections in Kenya. Having spent billions on ensuring credible, transparent elections, it behooves Kenyans to hold to account those institutions and individuals who failed in their duty. Without fair and transparent elections Kenyans will be deprived of a peaceful means to express their choices and change governments if they so wish.
From controversial tendering for biometric voter registration (BVR) kits, an assortment of voter registers, each with a different total, a breakdown in vital technology on the day and final results that didn’t balance, the IEBC displayed either gross incompetence or deliberate mismanagement of the 2013 elections. This is compounded by the fact that, over a year later, the IEBC has yet to release the full results of the elections. An audit conducted by Mars Group Kenya found serious discrepancies in
the results posted on the institutions website, with over 2,500 Forms 34 missing.
The Supreme Court judgment (based on obscure Nigerian case law and a debatable legal decision from the Seychelles about the definition of ‘votes cast’) also left something to be desired, impacting on public confidence and leaving the door open for future electoral malpractice by allowing the voters register to be whatever the IEBC says it is “at whatever stage of the election”.
This publication forms part of the AfriCOG/KPTJ Series on Elections. We welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice/Africa Centre for Open Governance