State should move in to prevent poll violence in predicted hotspots

Infographics: The Standard Checkpoint

According to a recent report released by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, six counties are likely to experience some degree of poll-related violence.

Further, the NCIC states that Kenya's national electoral violence index for 2022 is 53.43 per cent, with 31 counties likely to have peaceful elections.

The commission in its report cautioned six counties where poll violence is likely to erupt, based on a variety of factors such as ethnic inequality, competition over scarce resources, and the presence of organised criminal gangs, among others.

The six counties in the Rift Valley and Nyanza include Nakuru, Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Mombasa and Kericho. 

Some counties according to this report, are classified as medium-high risk, and they include; Narok, Marsabit, Laikipia, Lamu, Baringo, Isiolo, Meru, Nandi, Samburu, and Bomet.

One of the biggest causes of electoral violence is lack of trust in the agencies tasked with delivering credible polls.

To prevent this, all agencies both government and non-governmental should collaborate in enhancing democracy protection, inclusion and transparency, and sensitive reporting.

Hate speech, party primaries, refusal to accept poll results, and harassment of poll officials are potential triggers of electoral violence.

The government and the NCIC, should be strict to all leaders and the general public who spread hate speech especially in political rallies and on social media platforms.

Political leaders should also publicly denounce violence and pledge to accept poll results.

The government should also engage in civic education in all parts of the country and more so in the flagged counties to educate citizens on the importance of a peaceful election and leadership transition.  

Letter from Wathiha John, Maseno