Professor Dorina Bekoe
A think tank connected with the US Defense Department has expressed concerns that weakness of national and international institutions could precipitate election-related violence in Kenya in the forthcoming elections.
“A perception of impunity hangs over the election process,” states an analysis published on Monday by the Pentagon's Africa Centre for Strategic Studies.
Professor Dorina Bekoe, the writer of the Africa Center’s study, argues that indictments by the International Criminal Court prior to the 2013 election “served as a clear warning to all candidates, tempering language that some could consider hate speech,”, but in the 2017 Kenyan polls, the absence of such international watchdog could be dangerous for Kenya.
While acknowledging a number of serious steps towards electoral reforms by the Judiciary, Bekoe cautions that “Claims by the ruling coalition that the judiciary has not acted independently raises concerns about whether the courts could serve as an avenue to redress electoral grievances.”
The Professor further said that, the continued onslaught on the Electoral Commission IEBC by the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) fosters uncertainty over possible reactions to the election results.
She also allays fears that devolution could push violence to the county level because local politicians now exercise considerable political power.
“Moreover, “attractive salaries and the prospect of increased grants from the central government” have intensified electoral competition at the county level. “Combined,” “these factors heighten the risk that aspirants could use violence as an electoral strategy.” She warns.
“Several Kenyans were killed in protests against the IEBC, during party primaries in April and May, and in the “politically motivated clashes” in Laikipia,” Prof Bekoe asserts.