By Jerry Okungu
UNDP-ECF ELECTIONS CONFERENCE
SANTON CONVENTION CENTER
Johannesburg, South Africa
December 9 2011
Kenya’s security structure as inherited from the colonial government was pretty complex and remains largely the same to this day. We have the Provincial Administration that permeates the entire social fabric that largely served the interest of the colonial governor. It comprised of the village headman, a Sub Chief, Chief, District Officer, District Commissioner and the Provincial Commissioner.
This lineup was complete with its Police Force renamed the Administration Police after independence. The way this outfit served the Colonial Governor is the same it has continued to serve the man who replaced the Colonial Governor at independence- the President of the Republic of Kenya.
We also have the regular Police Force and the Crimination Investigation that primarily deals with law and order at the national level. It also investigates crimes and prosecutes arrested criminals. More often than not, it does not act to prevent crime but deals with offenders after the fact.
We have the GSU- the General Service Unit, a paramilitary police Force whose main role is to deal with riots, public demonstrations on enforce as curfew should the need arise. For years, they have been the most ruthless arm of the Police Force that was deployed to deal opposition party activists and university student riots.
We have the Military Department comprising of Ground Troops, the Navy and Kenya Air Force. Their role is to protect Kenya from external attack. This is the security outfit that is now fighting the Al Shabaabs inside Somalia.
The last category used to be called the Special Branch until it was renamed the National Security Intelligence Service-NSIS. Although its role is supposed to protect Kenya from external forces, it is preoccupied with spying on Kenyans on behalf of the State.
This entire apparatus security apparatus reports to the President of the Republic of Kenya who is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Other than the military that has never meddled in politics apart from the 1982 coupe attempt, the rest of the security forces are at the beckon and call of the President and his Cabinet.
They have been deployed many times to intimidate opposition politicians, break-up rallies, arrest those that they consider enemies of the State or generally detailed to rig elections on behalf of the President in power. Daniel Moi used them many times to install himself and his preferred candidates in power. Kibaki used them once in 2007 but unfortunately things went very wrong for him.
With this kind of arrangement, it has been an uphill task for Kenya to have elections free of malpractices and even violence from time to time.
Election violence in Kenya just like in other neighboring countries is a complex issue that has no simple solution. The issue takes different dimensions when one begins to realize the main actors involved.
During election season, one would imagine that Kenyans would gently campaign in rallies without carrying crude weapons or stones to attack opponents with. One would wish for an American or British style of election process where candidates separate personal relationships from political engagements. One would expect that our politicians would bitterly campaign against their opponents but at the end of the day shake hands and go for a drink together. One would imagine a society where political candidates running for various offices would not arm their youths, pay them and literally incite them to heckle or disrupt rallies of their opponents.
The scenario above would belong to utopia if you consider what our politics is all about.
In discussing violence in African politics whether the country is Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania or Zimbabwe, I am reminded of a Nigerian Playwright, one Ola Rotimi who wrote a play in the 1970s called “Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again”. In that play, the lead character is Le Jocker Brown, a retired Military General entering politics. In one scene, he raves and frets about some imaginary opponent trying to oppose his election to Parliament. It is at that point that Le Jocker Brown declares that politics is war. You must employ war strategies to win a political election. You must do all in your power to vanquish the enemy by any means necessary including violent means.
Le Jocker Brown is a typical African politician found anywhere in the continent. In this continent a political opponent is a sworn enemy for life. In some cases this animosity moves from one generation to the next and in some instances this bad blood can translate in to fists fights and at other times in to a full scale war between supporters. We have yet to distinguish between ideological battles and physical combat. Politics should belong to the power of reason and logic not stones, spears and arrows.
Scholars may write tons and tons of research documents on how to rid our politics of violence however, unless we face the real issues of public indiscipline, disrespect for the law and general social disorder displayed by the elite and goons alike, it will be impossible for the police, no matter how well trained or well meaning to deal with violence during elections.
The scenario in Kenya is complicated by a class of citizens known as the untouchables. These are individuals that can commit any crime yet no police officer can arrest them and successfully prosecute them. The reason this happens is because these very individuals have powerful connections in the corridors of power. You can arrest them in the morning and one hour later they have made one vital phone call and someone orders their immediate and unconditional release. These are the people you can actually charge in a court of law and the following day the Attorney General enters a nolle prosequi and the man proudly walks into freedom to continue with his criminal activities.
In Kenya, elected politicians at the level of members of Parliament, City Mayors, Cabinet Ministers and the Head of State are very influential people. This influence is extended to their wives, children and extended family members.
They have access to bank credits, business opportunities, and lucrative jobs in government and even postings abroad as ambassadors. Because they have access to state resources, they have the opportunity to drive the best cars, live in posh homes and access to armed state security- all signs of power and status symbol.
Because of their privileged positions, even law enforcement agencies like the police and judges are scared of them. Dealing with them strictly according to the law can cause someone a job and livelihood.
This class of citizens has grown in stature over the years to the extent that they have created a subculture of their own in which opulence, wastage, social disorder, disrespect for authority and the law has become their way of life.
Because they have the cash to run expensive election campaigns, they are in a position to hire the police, the General Service Unit and the National Intelligence Security Service staff to do their dirty work- collecting information on their opponents. Where the formal security staff is in short supply, they resort to recruiting jobless youths as their private militia or body guards. The hirelings have no problem unleashing terror whenever their boss tells them to do so. In some instances, these local “war lords” can hire both regular police and private militias to work as a team in his project.
Police officers on the other hand find themselves in a catch 22 situation. Whereas they would like to uphold the rule of law, disobeying an order from a powerful individual with connections in the corridors of power can mean a transfer to some remote village in Kenya or worse still loss of the only means of livelihood. However, the reason most police officers become incorrigibly corrupt and violent is the life they lead. In Kenya we have a very demoralized police force, poorly paid, lacking in decent accommodation and in most cases badly lack the tools of trade. Other than the gun which all of them must have, most police officers on patrol actually walk because they don’t have enough vehicles to move fast on the scenes of crime and where they have a vehicle at the police station, chances of having no fuel in that vehicle are very high.
It is these frustrations that have forced the police in to criminal activities and rampant corruption. They engage in these activities because just like other Kenyans, they have financial obligations to meet.
To reinstate the credibility of our police force, we must bite the bullet and look at their frustrations on the face. Our police force need decent pay cheque, a good house to live in, education for their children, medical and life insurance to give them the peace of mind that in the event that they fall in the line of duty, they will have some income to fall back on.
A part from personal benefits, the police must be well equipped with motor vehicles in order to combat crime. They should have two sets of vehicles; the branded ones for traffic patrols and dealing with mob riots and unbranded ones to track dangerous criminals. The police must be educated to work with civilians in order to track perpetrators of violence not only during elections but off election seasons as well. Changing public and police attitude about violence must be an ongoing process.
For any meaningful transformation to take place in the way we conduct our politics, stringent ethics and integrity laws both for the law enforcement officers and political actors must be accompanied by massive public education aimed at attitude change. It is this change of attitude that will dissuade political operators from unleashing violence on their opponents. When we change public perception of politics, they will see the benefits of conducting peaceful elections devoid of violence. And the government should be prepared to make violence more expensive and unattractive.
The only way to do this is to ensure that there are laws that if enforced are punitive enough to discourage would be perpetrators of violence. One way in which violence can be eradicated from our politics is to ban for life those individuals identified as fueling conflict during elections either by funding such activities or directly engaging in conflicts.
Transitional politics or regime change has been with us in Kenya since 1963 when the colonial government handed over power to a democratically elected Kenyatta regime. However, this democracy only lasted three years. After that, the first signs of authoritarianism set in under Kenyatta for the next twelve years.
It was during this period that President Kenyatta consolidated economic and political power into his own hands with frequent amendments to the Lancaster constitution through intimidation and coercion of the National Assembly. It was also during this period that Kenya witnessed the first three political assassinations of high profile popular politicians.
When Kenya became a defacto one party state in 1966, meaningful general elections became untenable. Although subsequent elections were held in 1969 and 1974 before Kenyatta passed on, the elections were choreographed to make sure that Kenyatta, his Vice President Daniel arap Moi and their close associates never faced challenges at the ballot box. They always went through unopposed.
During Kenyatta’s regime, elections were managed by the Director of Elections under the Attorney General who in turn was the President’s appointee.
To manage national elections, the Attorney General used the Provincial Administration and the Police Force to help in managing the process from registration of voters and the campaign period up to the Election Day. The Attorney General in conjunction with the ruling party KANU was responsible for deciding who was fit or not fit to contest elections. Those who challenged their decisions or expressed ideologies at variance with the ruling party were always rounded up by security agents and made to disappear before nomination day to allow the good boys to sail through unopposed.
When Jomo Kenyatta passed on in August 1978, Kenya had been a defacto one party state for twelve years. During that period, the only avenue to elective politics was through an all powerful, domineering and intolerant Kenya African National Union Party that was also headed by the Head of State and his Vice President. So, when Daniel arap Moi assumed the reigns of power IN 1978, he took over the system that President Kenyatta had built for one and a half decades.
The only difference was that he perfected Kenyatta’s authoritarianism and took it to new levels. He dismantled the Attorney General’s powerful office and placed all security agents under the Office of the President. Together with State security apparatus was the Director of Elections. And because there was no freedom of speech even in Parliament, it was impossible to pass meaningful laws that would restore democracy through an elective process.
Once Parliament was in the bag, Moi moved swiftly to the judiciary where he removed the security of tenure of judges and the Attorney General. They would henceforth serve at his pleasure.
So, when Kenya’s Air Force staged a military coup against Moi’s regime in August 1982, it gave him an opportunity to purge the military, opposition voices and discordant voices in the ruling party KANU. Instead he recruited loyalist voices from every corner of the Republic who would sing his tune and chorus witch-hunt campaigns against undesirable elements for either detention or expulsion from the party. Soon after this, he caused the Attorney General to publish a bill in Parliament that made Kenya a de-jure one party state within hours.
With all arms of government together with State Security apparatus under his armpit, the stage was set for one of the most repressive regimes in Africa for the next ten years. All this period, there were no meaningful democratic elections. The deciding factors were National Security agencies comprised of the Provincial Administration, the then Special Branch (now NISS) and of course the local KANU operatives. These were the organs that could measure the loyalty levels of every individual Kenyan who was interested in elective politics or appointment to lucrative government positions.
Even though multi-party politics returned to Kenya in 1992 when Kenya held its first multiparty elections since 1963, there was however no regime change until ten years later when an amended clause in the constitution in 1991 forced Moi to retire from politics ten years later. During this period, there were limited reforms such as setting up an Election Commission whose chairman and all commissioners were still appointed by the President.
It was only after 1997 elections did Moi accept to share the commissioners’ appointment with leading political parties represented in Parliament. However, State security apparatus, the courts and the Attorney General were still very much the President’s Men. During this period, rigging elections in favour of the President became the primary occupation of the State Security apparatus. Little wonder that Moi won two consecutive general elections in 1992 and 19972 despite his massive unpopularity with the electorate.
When Moi realized that he was leaving power in 2002, he tried all he could to impose one of his favorite supporters on the Kenyan people. He looked for the son of Jomo Kenyatta to succeed him. Despite a spirited campaign backed by the Police and the Provincial Administration together with unlimited government resources; he failed in his project and for some strange reason allowed regime change to take place smoothly. During this period, two institutions must take credit for the chaotic but violent free elections.
The army stood by Kenyans and expressed desire to work with whoever Kenyans would elect President. And for the first time, Election Commission of Kenya stood its ground and did Kenyans proud. Civilian power neutralized election riggers and gave Kibaki a resounding victory- 70% to Uhuru Kenyatta’s 30%.
However, though Kibaki is credited with expanded democratic space, the one thing he did soon after being sworn in was to surround himself with power seekers akin to Kenyatta’s of the 1960s and ‘70s. He consolidated the economic, political and security instruments under his office. With the Ministries of Defence and Internal Security under his docket, he was set to use the Provincial Administration, the Administration Police, the Regular Police and the General Service Unit to their maximum. Sooner rather than later, police violence that could only remind Kenyans of the past era was all back in display. Suddenly non-state political operators were compelled to get permits from police stations before holding rallies or demonstrations failing which, the police would disperse them by force.
Under the Kibaki regime, things started going really wrong when the Internal Security minister arranged for strange foreign thugs to raid the Standard Newspaper simply because the Media house had some expose of the new regime. It later transpired that the Armenian brothers who were hired secretly into the country and bestowed with positions of Deputy Police Commissioners were just thugs, international criminals and possibly drug dealers. These were the people the Kibaki regime allowed into the country at a time when Kenyans had high hopes of attaining real democracy and good governance.
On the eve of Moi’s departure from power in December 2002, the new constitution that Kenyans had fought for was about to be ratified at the People’s Constituent Assembly following the completion of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission. However, because Moi did not want the new constitution to interfere with his anointed heir to the throne, he quickly disbanded Parliament and called for fresh elections.
During the 2002 campaigns, the umbrella coalition parties that would propel Kibaki to power had the new constitution as its main campaign agendum. The coalition promised Kenyans a new constitution within 90 days of Kibaki’s presidency. However, immediately Kibaki was sworn it, the constitution took a back seat with operatives from his side of the coalition detailed to derail it all together. However, a watered down version was to be presented to the public nearly three years later as the document that Kenyans wanted. This was rejected by the main partners in the coalition forcing the pro Kibaki constitution to be defeated at the referendum.
With that development, Kibaki sacked all cabinet ministers of the coalition partner from his government. From then on, the stage was set for the most violent elections two years later in 2007.
Since pre independence elections of 1961 to 1963, the two main political parties that ushered in independence campaigned on the platform of minority tribes versus majority tribes. The Kikuyus and Luos were then seen as the dominant tribes and were feared by the rest of Kenyan tribes.
That was why KADU, the minorities’ party voted to a man to have a federal government as opposed to KANU of Jomo Kenyatta that voted for a unitary government under a strong Executive.
Because of this polarization, the elections in Kenya in 1963 were pretty bloody in which renegades in political zones were lynched in broad daylight. However, because of the strong hold the colonial regime had on security forces these pockets of political violence were contained and reflected the image of political parties rather than that of the national government or its security agents.
The first and only time Kenyatta’s regime used security agents to rig elections was during the 1966 Little General Elections after falling out with his Vice President then- Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. At that time the Provincial Administration was used to deny the KPU party licenses to hold rallies and to disqualify KPU candidates from the General Elections using all manner of excuses.
However in 1975 Kenyatta used the Police, Intelligence Agency and the Provincial and District Commissioners to deny not only the opposition licenses but to also bar populist KANU members of Parliament such as Mark Waithaka and J M Kariuki from campaigning publicly during the 1784 elections. Whereas Mark Waithaka won elections while in prison, J M Kariuki was voted back to parliament in a landslide in that election only to be murdered three months later. Parliamentary Commission set up to investigate JM Kariuki’s murder established that he was murdered by state security agents with the full knowledge of the President, Attorney General and all those that were close to Kenyatta then. No action was taken against all those that the report recommended for prosecution.
At the dawn of the new multiparty era in 1991, there were fresh politically motivated violence in Rift Valley, Nyanza, Western and Coast Provinces. As Moi was going to face his first multiparty election in 14 years since assuming power, suddenly there sprouted a militia group known as the Kalenjin warriors that demanded that all other tribes living in Rift Valley must go back to their original ancestral homes.
Although many innocent Kenyans were either speared to death or shot with poisoned arrows, no arrests or prosecutions ever took place. The conclusion was that their activities had tacit approval from the highest office in the land that also enjoyed the position of Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
Despite the Kiliku Report that investigated the 1991-2 political violence, Kenyans had to see a repeat of the same ethnic violence during election seasons in 1997 and 2002 with still no investigations, arrests and trials of suspects carried out in Kenya’s courts of law.
Because of these precedents that had gone unpunished, it was normal that if the elections went really wrong in 2007, violence would erupt only that nobody expected the scales of destruction and loss of human life to reach the proportions we witnessed.
Whereas the majority of Kenyans thought they would improve on the 2002 democratic gains, top officials in the Kibaki regime had other ideas. They were not ready to see Kibaki defeated at the polls by opponents he had sacked from government just two years earlier. More importantly they were not prepared to see Kibaki go home after just one term. And being Kibaki’s men and women from Central Kenya, they left nothing to chance. It was at this point when they arm-twisted Kibaki to replace all retiring Election Commissioners with friendly individuals that would ensure his reelection.
As the elections heated up towards the end of 2007, the National Intelligence Service collected useful information that indicated that whichever party won, there was bound to be violence in most parts of the country. The NIS report pinpointed political hotspots such as Nakuru, Eldoret, and Kisumu and to some extent the Coast region. It was simple; if Kibaki won elections, other tribes would not accept it. If Raila Odinga won the vote, Kikuyus who were in power would not accept the outcome.
To prevent an outright win by the opposition, the Minister for Internal Security chose in his wisdom to recruit 3000 Administration Police Officers as election agents for the President’s party- PNU. However, when the plan leaked to the press, the story changed that the Admin Police were merely to keep the peace at polling stations. What let the cat out of the bag was that these “peace keeping” deployments were only sent to Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western Provinces- the opposition strongholds.
This decision by the PNU regime to deploy the Admin Police as its election agents heightened tension all over the country with opposition strongholds forming militias to guard polling stations so that rigging could not take place. Those Admin police officers that were identified in some areas were summarily lynched or just beaten up and chased away.
So, by the time the chairman of the ECK was announcing that Kibaki had won the elections with a small margin and a hurried swearing in done within thirty minutes, the whole country was charged. Within minutes of the swearing in the President at 7pm on December 30, 2007, the whole country erupted in an orgy of violence.
With Elections for President disputed, it would have been natural to go to court and challenge the election for Kibaki. However, the Kenyan Judiciary at the time, just like the police force, could not be relied on for fair arbitration. It would obviously uphold the results as announced and PNU knew that. And so when violence persisted and even escalated beyond the imagination of the government, there was panic. The first reaction was to suppress the riots any means necessary. In no time riot police were deployed in opposition strongholds to beat, maim and even shoot rioters to death. These shootings mainly occurred in Kibera slums, Mathare slums, Naivasha, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu.
As the riots multiplied and escalated, police orders to shoot to kill took their toll on Kenya. After two weeks of continuous rioting, the police were overwhelmed and had to seek support from other security agents. This was when the military moved in not to kill rioters but to disperse them and clear the major highways that had been barricaded by the rioters.
More importantly as ethnic lynching escalated with reprisal killings in Naivasha following the killings in Eldoret, it was important that the army moved in to escort to safety those people that had been displaced on account of their ethnicity.
At the end of it all, a combined operation of the Admin Police and the Regular Police had shot to death at least 50% of all the people who had lost their lives during the 2007 post election violence.
When it was all over, there were no police investigations, arrests or prosecutions of those that had carried out the looting, arson or murder. To this day, no single rape case has been prosecuted even though women who were raped knew and could identify their assailants, most of them police officers in uniform.
An interesting case in Kisumu where a police officer was caught on camera by an international journalist chasing an unarmed 15 year old youth then shooting him at close range then kicking his lifeless body came to nothing when the officer was brought to court. Camera footage notwithstanding, the officer was acquitted for lack of evidence! To this day, he has not been charged again.
A part from the Kiliku Parliamentary Commission that investigated the 1992 politically motivated ethnic violence in 1993, Justice Akiwumi had to do the same following the 1997 election violence. So when Justice Waki Commission revealed the details how election violence was planned, executed and the aftermath, Kenyans began to accept violence during election seasons as a way of life and that unless punitive corrective measures were taken, it would be difficult to eradicate the culture of impunity which had become deeply rooted in Kenyan politics. It is best remembered that since 1975 when the third politically motivated murder of JM Kariuki was investigated by a parliamentary commission, no action had been taken on these reports not even that of Foreign Minister Robert Ouko murdered in 1990 and the subsequent 1992 and 1997 election related ethnic violence.
As Kenyans expected, they assumed Justice Waki would release his report on the 2007 post election violence to the President who in turn would hand it over to the Attorney General for burial in its final resting place among the others before it.
However, when Waki handed the report to President Kibaki and Prime Minister, he withheld a vital envelop containing names of prominent politicians that were involved in planning the atrocities and crimes against humanity. It was this single act by one Court of Appeal judge that changed the equation. It is the reason we have six Kenyans facing trial at the ICC Court in The Hague.
Why have Kenyans been violent generally during elections? It is because for years, they have suffered
- An all powerful presidency that was not ready to share power either with Parliament or the Judiciary
- Unfair and unequal distribution of national resources and state finances for infrastructure development
- Ethnic bias in the recruitment of state jobs
- Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity
- Unfair land ownership in a country where millions don’t have a burial ground
- A failed and discredited Judicial System
- A compromised Parliament
- A compromised National Security apparatus that had turned on its own people it was supposed to protect
- A deeply corrupt government system that had over the decades impoverished its own people
In Kenya the situation has been like this before a new constitution came into place:
- The President is the Commander in Chief of all Armed Forces including Prisons Department
- He appoints ministers of Defense and Internal Security together with their assistants and Permanent Secretaries. They all have their offices in the Office of the President
- He appoints all army Generals and Commandants, the Police Commissioner, the Admin Police and General Service Unit Commandants
- He appoints all the eight Provincial Commissioners and 250 District Commissioners who are also Security Committee chairmen in their respective Districts and Provinces
- The President also appoints the Directors of Criminal Investigation and National Intelligence Service that also report to him directly
- The President also appoints all judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal as well as the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions
With this scenario, it was difficult to have a legal system that would go against the wishes of the President in power. It was the reason the police never investigated election related crimes and those who were taken to court were acquitted for lack of “sufficient” evidence.
Because non-state actors in politics realized that they could not get protection from state owned security agents, they recruited their own for their own personal security and to encounter state brutality during election seasons. In this regard, the following private militias have sprouted on the Kenyan scene since 1992, the year Moi predicted that multi party politics would bring back ethnic violence:
- The Kalenjin Warriors of Rift Valley believed to have belonged to President Moi and his kitchen cabinet
- Mt. Elgon Land Freedom Army fighting for their land in lower parts of South Rift Valley
- The dreaded Mungiki militias of Central Province fighting an economic war against wealthy Kikuyus
- Jeshi la Mzee of Nairobi area during Moi’s time
- Kizungu Zungu and Chikokoro gangs that operated in Kisii parts of Nyanza Province
- Angola Musumbiji gangs that operated in Western Province
- Coast Republican Party, a militia separatist group that operated in the Coast region
- Baghdad Boys of Mathare slums
- Artur Brothers that were imported from Armenia to cause chaos in Kenya
Because the government was running its own set of gangs from the Police Force that from time to time carried out extra-judicial killings of innocent Kenyans, it was difficult for the government to curb the growth of other non-state gangs. Ironically when the government operatives needed to deal with the opposition leaders, they would employ the services of some of these gangs a long side the regular police.
Kenyans, mainly non-state actors struggled for almost three decades to get a new constitution and to restore governance and democratic practices that would salvage their nation from the abyss of political pit-hole they had found themselves in.
The 2007 post election violence left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Kenyans. The aftermath of the death of 1500 innocent Kenyans half of which perished at the hands of police brutality made Kenyans resolve that time was ripe for a new constitution and far reaching political, social and economic reforms. We had to rethink our governance practices.
Because of the trauma of post election violence of 2007, it was easier for political foes to reach compromises and usher in a new constitution that was finally promulgated at a colourful ceremony in August 2010.
With this new constitution came sweeping changes in our governance structure. The office of the President was stripped of powers to appoint state officers. Such powers the constitution vested in Parliament to avoid future abuse of office by the Presidency.
The Provincial Administration was abolished and replaced with elected County governments to be headed by governors and deputy governors complete with their regional assemblies. These Countries would in future receive 15% of the National Budget to run their own governments.
Parliament also received a second chamber, the Senate that would primarily deal with resource distribution to the County governments. It would also have the powers to impeach a sitting President.
The constitution also fixed a date for General Elections that would fall on every second week of August every five years. The President would therefore not have a say when elections would take place. This move effectively gave the National Assembly its calendar.
The constitution also elevated the position of Vice President of the Republic to that of Deputy President making future vice presidents have security of tenure for at least five years rather than serve at the pleasure of the President. For that matter, future presidential candidates were compelled to choose their running mates that would end up being their deputies once they won elections.
In the Attorney General’s office, the constitution split that office and created an independent office of Director of Public Prosecutions such that the Attorney General would only remain the Chief Legal Advisor to the government. The DPP would prosecute all cases without any reference to the Attorney General.
In the cabinet, the posts of Cabinet Ministers and Permanent Secretaries were abolished. Instead the constitution trimmed the size of the Cabinet from 42 to not more than 22 and renamed them Cabinet Secretaries that would in future be vetted by Parliament before their appointments.
It was this area that was most abused by the last three presidents because they used such positions to influence votes from various communities.
The constitution also gave Parliament wide powers to vet all state employees and only those individuals that passed integrity test and parliamentary public hearings would be appointed.
The constitution also merged the Regular Police with the Admin Police to form the Kenya Police Service with one Inspector General at the head and a Police Service Commission as the authority to report to. This means that future regimes would not be able to misuse the Police for their own political ambitions. A long with this the entire Police Service would be structured afresh with top officers vetted before being reemployed.
In the Judiciary, the constitution created another layer of the judicial system by creating the Supreme Court of Kenya above the current Court of Appeal with the Chief Justice as the President of the Supreme Court. Also created was the post of Deputy Chief Justice and five other Supreme Court Judges. The constitution also mandated that all sitting judges and magistrates would be vetted by the Judicial Service Commission before being readmitted to the service.
The vetting of judges and the Police Force was one way of saying that corruption in the Judiciary and the Police Force, especially the investigation and prosecution agencies had to be dealt with.
With a more professional Judiciary and State Security Agencies in place, it was hoped that criminal activities that went unpunished would be a thing of the past in Kenya’s electoral process.
The Creation of a new electoral body- The Independent Election and Boundaries Commission
Part of the reason why elections over the years were riddled with violence and corruption was because the Executive appointees to the Electoral Commission were too weak and powerless to act against the excesses of the state. They had no security of office entrenched in the constitution. They were handpicked by the Executive, hence the temptation to please the appointing authority.
According to Justice Johann Kriegler Report of 2008 that analyzed the electoral problems in Kenya in 2008, it was noted that most of the problems emanated from an inefficient and out of date Electoral team that lived in the past when the rest of the world had moved on. Technologically, they were barely literate to be able to exploit new management tools available to such bodies worldwide.
Following the Kriegler report, Parliament disbanded the body and replaced it with a care-taker Commission that successfully conducted at least 20 by-elections and one national referendum over the last four years flawlessly. Since then, a fresh and permanent Electoral Commission has been set up through public vetting by a special committee set up by Parliament. After short-listing and public interviews, the final qualifiers were subjected to further Parliamentary Committee hearings after which the successful candidates were presented to the President and Prime Minister for appointment. As its name suggests, it is independent of any faction or operative from any arm of government.
During the elections, it will be responsible for vetting candidates, publishing rules of engagement and will be in control of security staff seconded to them by the state. It will definitely not succumb to state intimidation as its authority is vested in the National Assembly and the Constitution.
Incidentally, the Kenya Armed Forces were not adversely affected by changes in the new constitution because they were largely never in the spotlight on cases of corruption or violence against civilians.
With these changes already taking place, it is hoped that future elections in Kenya will be secure from unnecessary and wasteful violence