Haki Africa has raised concerns about the exploitation of youths during elections calling on relevant stakeholders to take action.
Speaking today at a Nairobi hotel, HAKI Africa executive director Hussein Khalid observed that money offered to youths by politicians caused political intolerance in Jacaranda and Mandera.
The main issues raised include politicians using young people and women to join gangs and engage in other illegal activity, candidates abusing social media to criticize rivals, and voters being displaced in some areas.
“The exploitation of young people and women by politicians to participate in criminal activities like gangs, the abuse of social media by candidates to disparage rivals, and the dispersal of voters in some areas are other issues that have been raised,” Khalid said.
For instance, they pointed out that the conflict at the facility was caused by a person who had received money from both Azimio and Kenya Kwanza for the reservation of the Jacaranda grounds.
“Voter bribery from what we have witnessed is all round, maybe only Roots Party flagbearer George Wajackoyah, whom we have not heard anything about. Even for independent candidates, we have documented incidents of voter bribery. We have documentation for both Azimio and Kenya Kwanza, and we shall share the information with relevant authorities to appropriate actions,” he reiterated.
Wajackoyah did not provide any incentives to the youth throughout their campaign path, according to a grassroots assessment.
Khalid added that Haki had evidence of instances in which every other campaign, including Azimio and Kenya Kwanza, had committed electoral fraud.
The civil society group said that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and other organizations had received the documentation so they could take appropriate action against the responsible parties.
Anthony Mahui, IEBC Nairobi County’s Deputy Returning Officer, commented on the situation and said that underlying problems including unemployment drove young people to accept bribes.
“Underlying issues such as youth unemployment and poverty manifest in them taking bribes, and they should be addressed deeply from the root cause. Even with our officers, sometimes we see open bribery every other day,” Mahui explained.
Before the general election on August 9, Khalid noted that some of the worries voiced by young people included a rise in political violence and incitement by some of the candidates.