By Stephen Makabila
The latest Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) report has cautioned that the atmosphere for elections is becoming more divisive.
The report by South Consulting, dated June 14, indicated the divisive atmosphere was as a result of politicians mobilising support along ethnic lines.
“The expected International Criminal Court trial of four Kenyans charged with crimes against humanity during the post-2007 election violence is also polarising the country between those who support and those who oppose the ICC intervention,” states the report in part.
National Security Intelligence Service raised similar concerns and this was conveyed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Parliament recently.
The KNDR report further states, “These divisions are feeding into the electoral environment through mobilisation of political support, with polarising effects. Failure to successfully prosecute politicians charged with hate speech crimes is partly responsible for this tendency.”
The report warns the tendency is likely to continue if the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, among other players, do not investigate and demand prosecution of key players.
The report is based on the thirteenth review meeting on the status of implementation of the KNDR agreements with a focus on elections, by the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities whose chair is former UN Secretary General Koffi Annan.
The meeting discussed the findings of a report prepared by South Consulting – the research firm designated by the Panel of Eminent African Personalities to undertake independent monitoring and evaluation of the implementation process.
It examines the country’s electoral preparedness for the first General Election to be held under the new Constitution and provides an assessment of the extent to which the country has revised its electoral processes and implemented actions to improve management of polls.
The report notes that while the IEBC enjoyed high level of trust among Kenyans, with 80 per cent expressing confidence in the commission, the pre-election environment faced several challenges.
It recommended that the uncertainty surrounding the election date should be addressed expeditiously and decisively to allow preparations to proceed without anxiety.
The report further noted that while the IEBC and the Judiciary continued to prepare for the elections, other key stakeholders, particularly the political parties were unprepared, and that the high level of trust in the IEBC could be eroded by the failure to enforce discipline in political practice by enforcing the law, particularly the Political Parties Act, 2011.