Towards democratic policing of the 2013 general elections in Kenya

Towards democratic policing of the 2013 general elections in Kenya

Policies to enable democratic policing of Kenyan elections

The 2007 elections spawned Kenya’s worst election-related violence and resulted in sharp criticism of the police. In light of lessons from 2007, and also from previous elections, this Policy Brief presents arguments for the adoption of guidelines for policing the March 2013 elections. It offers recommendations for measures that aim to enhance a democratic approach to policing the elections, in consideration of the present challenge of low levels of public confidence in the police and the demands of the Constitution and other laws for police accountability and civilian oversight.  The brief argues that the era of secretive, hostile and unaccountable policing is in the past and that the onus is now on the National Police Service to bring the institution in step with the demands of contemporary democratic policing.

Key guidelines for the 2013 elections include:

  • individual officer preparedness - every police officer on election duty is expected to know relevant electoral laws and particularly electoral offences found in the Elections Act 2011
  • political impartiality - this is a reiteration of the constitutional requirement that officers shall be non-partisan and apolitical in carrying out their responsibilities related to elections
  • transparency in public order management - police are committed to providing necessary information to facilitate holding of public gatherings
  • also adequate communication and managment for public gatherings
  • media communication to the public – managing the information flow to the public to ensure the approach of the police is clear at all times
  • cancellation of public gatherings where necessary  will be done with due regard for the constitutionally protected political rights
  • minimal use of force
  • an approach of disclosure and accountability on any deaths arising at public gatherings
  • election incidents reporting – the police commit to noting, recording and reporting electoral incidents that arise during policing or the elections
  • accountability and oversight institutions – the police, as per law, are accountable to the Internal Affairs Unit, the National Police Service Commission and the Independent Police Oversight Authority. The police will keep records on electoral incidents, which shall be availed impartially as required
  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.