•Last week, the office launched a 24 hours ODPP elections toll-free line and call centre which will help to streamline accessibility to citizens on election-related matters.
•He said that this will help to enhance their capability to receive and respond to questions and complaints incidental to the general elections.
The office of ODPP Noordin Hajj has said that his office has developed and implemented key policies and strategies to facilitate prompt response to election-related offences.
Last week, the office launched a 24 hours ODPP elections toll-free line and call centre which will help to streamline accessibility to citizens on election-related matters.
He said that this will help to enhance their capability to receive and respond to questions and complaints incidental to the general elections.
“We have come up with call centres where we will issue numbers to Kenyans which will help them to raise any concern and also make calls to report any person who will go against the law during the election period,” he said.
The ODPP said that they have also adopted and continued to sensitize participants on the digital platform used to capture real-time data on elections and related offences across all county offices.
The digital platform will help in facilitating real-time mapping out of the potential hotspots and prompt deployment of the appropriate response mechanisms.
He spoke during the official opening of training for focal point counsel and stakeholders on the prosecution of election offences and hate speech in Mombasa.
He also launched of the ODPP Rapid Reference Guide on the Prosecution of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Kenya which will provide an easily accessible resource for prosecutors, and facilitate a coherent, expeditious and efficient prosecution of cases.
“The reason why we have decided to launch this together with other stakeholders involved in the electoral process is that a lot of sexual gender-based violence occurs during the election period,” he said.
“We have seen in past elections the incidence of misconduct even within those who are supposed to provide security, this issue must be highlighted that women and children must have the right to enjoy their freedom.”
The ODPP said that women have the right to participate in elections in a peaceful, free and fair environment that safeguards them and assures them of their rights to exercise their civil duty.
He said that they will work closely with the ministry of interior in matters concerning security and that they expect to receive files that will have evidence which will later be taken to court.
“We are ready and we have ensured that we understand what the law says, we are sure that there will be a change in how different stakeholders play their responsibility of ensuring that there is peace during elections,” he said.
He said that they are working towards ensuring that elections are conducted in peace, happens according to the constitution and that it will be a free and fair election where people will vote in peace.
In past election periods, different cases have been produced in court but justice failed to happen due to a lack of witnesses.
The ODPP said that they have tried to sensitize and encourage Kenyans to help in producing evidence whenever a case is filed in court.
“We are all Kenyans and we will only be able to achieve this if we work together, we have a witness protection agency which will ensure that any person who will feel like if they testify they will be harmed, the agency will protect them and ensure they testify without fear,” he said.
Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) chairperson Ann Makori said that they are working together to ensure that violence cases have been reduced.
“All the Police officers will work according to the law during the election, they participated in the development of the commander’s manual on the elections,” she said.
“For the first time, we received commanders who have a manual that was developed by different stakeholders including IPOA which will guide them while providing security during elections.”
She said that IPOA is ready and that there will be several monitors including the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights to ensure that the human rights of Kenyans are observed.
“We are ready but we are also calling upon Kenyans to come out in large numbers during that day to come and vote and go back home to avoid the police having the role of public order management because this comes where there is violence,” she said.
She said that the police are not obligated to obey the unlawful command, if they do so, they take an individual liability and be held individually culpable.
“It is their law, it is in their act and standing orders, they know so the minute you agree to obey unlawful command then you expose yourself as an individual,” she said.
The Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak, in his speech, read by Mark Ndiema a representative called for collaborative efforts toward ensuring a smooth electoral process and effective prosecution of electoral offences.
“The Commission acknowledges the efforts by ODPP and we would like to ask for a collaborative approach in achieving an effective election prosecution process," he said.
He said corruption is rampant especially in matters related to elections saying it will tighten the rope to avert the same as the country heads to the general elections.
He said that they will not condone unethical conduct as well as corruption by any parties that will take charge of the election and that all government agencies will tighten measures to avert any possibility of corruption during elections.
The Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR) representative Brenda Dosio said that criminal justice actors should factor in human rights as they execute their mandate during the coming polls.
"We seek to enhance credibility and transparency in the election, we seek to identify human rights violations in the elections as well as identify the special groups in their involvement in the elections cycle," KNCHR coast coordinator Roseline Odede said in her speech.
Over 120 election monitors have been deployed countrywide to oversee any violations of human rights during the general elections.