Statement of the Africa Liberal Network on the pre-election violence in Kenya
Rosemary Machua, ALN Vice President East Africa
11 July 2016
The Africa Liberal Network is appalled by reports confirming Kenyan police brutality against members of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the broader Coalitions for Reform and Democracy (CORD), including violence targeted at women and unarmed citizens.
CORD, including ODM, actively stands for the reform of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The IEBC, formed in 2011 and tasked with managing the country’s 2013 elections, is reportedly responsible for failing to carry out its mandate of free and fair elections. The body is said to be liable for deliberately causing the malfunctioning of electronic voter identification mechanisms which jeopardized the democratic process during elections. Moreover, the IEBC is accused of gross embezzlement of funds and, since 2013, ceased to engage with all Kenyan political parties and the public in determining its strategic plans.
In light of this, thousands of Kenyans have protested against the IEBC and the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta for failing to address these critical issues.
Alarmingly, these peaceful protests have been met with police brutality in Nairobi and other Kenyan centres. Six unarmed demonstrators were killed by police and tens of others are hospitalized in various hospitals in Kenya after being wounded with bullets. In one particular incident, unarmed women were attacked whilst hiding in a public toilet in fear of the police. On a separate occasion, a 65-year old unarmed female was brutally attacked by police.
The ALN condemns in the strongest possible terms all attempts to use women as tools of political conflict and calls on the Kenyan government to take extremely seriously the need for the protection of all citizens and their right to peaceful protest and demonstration. The Network also calls on President Kenyatta to take all necessary disciplinary and preventative steps to ensure the complete removal of police brutality as a possible threat to Kenyans.
As the largest political network on the African continent, the ALN calls on all political parties in Kenya to actively work towards a peaceful, democratic solution to the irregularities and issues facing the IEBC. It is our sincere hope that all Kenyan stakeholders will form part of the dialogue with a view to serving the best interests of the country’s citizens.
Africa Liberal Network Coordinator
+27 (0)81 481 3754