Reflections on Uchaguzi 2022

Though not yet over, the 2022 General Elections came with notable positives. We saw a relatively peaceful pre-election period, improved nomination processes and more women stepping forward to vie for elective office. Kenyans conducted themselves peacefully during the elections and we commend the National Police Service for their professional conduct in protecting Kenyans as well as providing security during this sensitive period. We also commend all independent offices, constitutional commissions, peace and mediation teams for their oversight and response to the few incidents of election offences reported.

We congratulate all those who won elective seats. We have made history as for the first time, seven county governments in Kenya will be governed by women, up from three in 2017.  In addition, at least 74  women were elected as Members of the National Assembly. These are great strides in the continued quest for gender equality in political representation. We were incredibly impressed by many candidates who gracefully conceded defeat and pledged to work with the winners. Such efforts go a long way in displaying leadership and fostering cohesion after the competition.

The elections have though been without challenges. We witnessed a spike in false or misleading information being shared on social media. 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).

The announcement of presidential results did little to calm nerves, with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) split over the outcome. Four of the seven electoral commissioners have distanced themselves from the results due to the “opaque nature” of the final tally. The scuffles that broke out in the auditorium and pockets of violence witnessed in parts of the country were unfortunate events. Swift response by the police and faith in the Supreme Court helped restore order. Eight petitions were filed at the Supreme Court registry at Milimani Law Courts, an indication of the trust embedded in this institution.

We were greatly concerned with rising reports of intimidation, ethnic profiling, and disappearances of IEBC commissioners and staff. We strongly condemn the torture and murder of Embakasi East Returning Officer Daniel Mbolu Musyoka. Our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and entire IEBC fraternity.