Amnesty International Kenya, KICTANET, SDGs Kenya Forum and Fumbua Campaign have noted with great concern the rising levels of false or misleading information being shared on social media a day after the polls closed.
Several posts by both KENYA KWANZA and AZIMIO candidates and their supporters have intentionally sought to misinform the electorate and the public on the electoral process and the election results. These include distortion, false information shared without malicious intent (misinformation) and those shared to deliberately deceive people (disinformation).
We remind social media users to refrain from sharing unverified information and urge them to authenticate such information with the official sources before sharing. We further remind Kenyans that the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is the only institution with the legal mandate to make pronouncements on the electoral processes and issue official results to the nation.
While all Kenyans retain the fundamental right to free expression and access to diverse information sources during an election, we advise everyone to treat all electoral information as either opinions or provisional until confirmed by the IEBC. This will reduce the risks of any electoral related violence, undermining public trust in the electoral process, and unsubstantiated partisan claims of rigging.
The wait for election results can be an anxious period for all Kenyans. We urge the IEBC to disseminate evidence-based, transparent, swift, and regular electoral updates. Only this will counter the rising tensions among the electorate, frequency of false and misleading information and will entrench trust among Kenyans at this significant time in our nation.
Finally, we call on the media and fact-checking institutions to step up their work in reviewing results posted on social media and fact-check the unverified claims made by various actors on social media platforms.
Florence Syevuo SDGs Kenya Forum Executive Director
Grace Githaiga KICTANeT Chief Executive Officer
Irungu Houghton Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director
Wanjiru Nguhi Fumbua Campaign Programme Manager
Amnesty International Kenya, KICTANET, SDGs Kenya Forum and Fumbua Campaign remain neutral observers and non-partisan civic organisations committed to a free internet, development, and Article 81 of the constitution throughout this electoral period.