2012 Kenyan Election Rules Tough Against Men’s Political Terror Tricks on Women

Posted by Usawa na Haki on Gender Governance Kenya

Dirty political campaigns terror tricks men have been using to hound women with high quality leadership skills from elective leadership positions will boomerang on the male political class beginning right from the next general elections.

This follows the enactment of tough punitive laws in accordance with the new constitutional stipulations to be enforced before the next general elections whose date is still subject for debate and speculation following the recent court that the two principals could determine it in written agreement to dissolve the current grand coalition government.

The other option the ruling gave was that they could be conducted in March next year after the demise of the five year period of the current tenth parliament for the country to start a new chapter under devolved governance structures as stipulated by the constitution.

The new tough laws being legislated will ensure that the campaigns for country’s next general elections will be a nightmarish for male candidates that had perfected the art of using political terror tactics but the new laws prohibit use of dirty tricks, limited use of money, offensive campaign advertisements and makes hate speech an offence.

Only last month women leaders and elective leadership aspirants from all over the country who had congregated in Nairobi for a National Women Leadership Platform for Action 2012 to launch the Kenya Women’s National Charter, exposed the dirty tricks the men have been exploiting over the decades to hound women candidates out of the races. The tricks were published in a special edition of Usawa publication.

Some of the tough laws being legislated to deal a death blow to these political terror tactics whose brunt the women leadership aspirants have borne over the years include, the Campaign Finance Bill, The Elections Act and the National Cohesion and Integrity Act.

The Campaign Finance Bill has already been crafted and is set to be debated in parliament and enacted into law – these legislations will be setting the pace to control the repulsive culture of negative and damaging campaign foul language and abusive propaganda, the hiring of armed political goons to terries women candidates, rampant bribery and intimidation – that have been the traditional hall mark of political terror against women.

With these legislation it automatically outlaws negative exploitation of SMS and E-mail messages to taint the images of rivals, foul, abusive and violent language, hate speech and song besmirching rival candidates, bribery of voters and electioneering officials that were the order of the day at general elections among other dirty tricks as exposed at the Kenyan Women’s Convention last month will be banned.

The political Parties Act and the Elections Act are powerful legislation which are expected to lay down stiff legislation that even aspiring male presidential candidates who are already hob-knobbing across the country to woo delegates to vote for them at their respectful political parties’ nominations will have to comply with to qualify to move onto the next stage to fight it out for the presidential race.

Indeed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Act and related legislation unlike the defunct disgraced Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) under the leadership of Samuel Kivuitu and its successor, the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) – the IEBC has powerful teeth to bite those found with electioneering or related offences.

Unlike the previous electioneering commissions the IEBC has powers to prose cute mostly male elective leadership candidates who have over the decades perfected the notoriety of exploiting and executing dirty political terror tricks with impunity.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Mutula Kilonzo whose office was part of the architects who crafted these tough electioneering legislation has already gone public warning that the breed of politicians who have been thriving on these kind of tricks are going headlong into trouble since the new laws and the Constitution have completely turned around the way to conduct political campaigns.

Says Mr. Kilonzo: “I wish to caution, advise and recommend that these politicians that they should read these laws very carefully, understand them clearly what they demand of them and seriously consider their consequences against them if they fail to obey them – because the political playing field in the coming elections will never be the same as of old.”

He says that plans are at an advanced stage that will see his ministry will request the IEBC to flex its muscles and snap its teeth by exploiting its increased powers to keep in check politicians, especially men who are accused of violating the enacted legislation in their political and campaign rallies.

The minister says it was high time the commission effectively executed its duties using the legal powers conferred on it to prosecute errant politicians who had played dirty politics with impunity over the decades since independent with women bearing the brunt of the negative situation since the country needed a complete change in the way of conducting politics.

“Unlike the past where many candidates in government office were always using official public (government) vehicles and other resources to conduct their campaigns, the new laws have completely banned this. Otherwise those who are found to have broken this law risk being jailed for two years and fined Kshs. 1 million. They are also banned from raising money for their campaigns from foreign sources and even locally donors are not allowed to donate more than Kshs. 5 million to any candidate,” he said.

Mr. Kilonzo says that the politicians who have a penchant for using money as well as intimidating threats to grab votes to their side will automatically be disqualified including the very ones that cough out cash through harambee fundraisers even if they are doing so disguised through proxies in the names of their cronies, friends or relatives will face disqualification.

He says that above all the Kenyan voters who have been used to the culture of frenzied bribery from mostly male aspiring political office candidates during electioneering years must stand warned that this time round to accept such bribes from politicians will be breaking the law and they will be liable to pay a Kshs. 1 million fine even if the bribe was only a few hundreds of shillings.

The minister says: “The use of money in political campaigns is going to be put in check by a new law that is already on its way heading to parliament for debate and enactment ready for enforcement. It is key purpose is to completely eliminate bribery of political leaders by business tycoons or other special interest groups for them to play to their tunes once successful.”

He says that The Campaign Finance Bill once enacted into law will require that the IEBC to put together a Finance Committee whose membership should include the Controller of Budget, the Registrar of Political Parties and two members nominated from the IEBC.

This committee will have powers to search the offices of political parties and candidates for documents in the course of its investigations, the power to disqualify any candidate from standing to be elected or any political party from fielding any candidates.

The establishment of National Party (Political) Expenditure Committees by the country’s political parties will be a requirement and these committees must be in place at least six months prior to the elections date to enforce and make sure that their parties’ candidates adhered to the laid down regulations in use of their funds – because those who break the laws will automatically be disqualified from contesting.

These committees according to the minister will also be required to prepare reports of expenditure incurred by their respectful political parties to be submitted to the Electoral Commission as the political parties must also establish Campaign Expenditure Committees to manage and account for their campaign kitties.

Indeed The Elections Act that has rolled out A Code of Conduct that spells out the ‘Dos’ and the ‘Don’ts’ sets out to enforce discipline in the country’s political scenario that had been thrown to the dogs. It stipulates that politicians and their political parties are required to publicly condemn any violence and intimidation as they are expected to ensure they do not occur and avoid use of hate speech.

“The politicians and their political parties must also ensure that no weapons of any kind are carried nor displayed at any political rallies or meetings as it is going to be illegal for them to campaign in places of worship or at funeral and burial ceremonies as has been the norm, because it will be illegal,” says Mr. Kilonzo

He warns politicians, their supporters and political parties that the new laws stipulate that they must avoid copying the symbols, acronyms and colours of other political parties and restrain their supporters from defacing, disfiguring, removing and or destroying political campaigns materials belonging to their rival candidates since it will be illegal and the Commissioners of the IEBC will have the powers to order the arrest and prosecute any who broke these laws.

The finale nail in the coffin, comes with the electioneering laws which completely bans the elective leadership office seekers from jumping from one political party to another at the eleventh hour since the new requires that nominees of political parties for various party positions must be known to the IEBC fourty-five days before the elections.

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