• Political Parties are not set up internally to respond to any kind of violence targeting aspirants.
• Several parties also have no clear definition of gender-based violence within the codes of conduct of the party.
There was more gender based violence online than usual during the August 9 election, Siasa Place, a political lobby has said
Nerima Wako, the executive director of Siasa Place, said that this time there were a lot of hired goons and bloggers online who were harassing politicians.
Women and youth were being targeted the most.
“Young people are capitalising on online influence for campaigns and this year several individuals relied on bloggers to push their campaigns,” Wako said.
She said the rise of online platforms and the fact that political parties are not paying attention and have zero mechanisms to manage this makes it hard for special interest groups to campaign.
“Parties need to start strategising when it comes to management on harassment online and add it to their code of conduct, on top of other forms of violence during elections,” she said.
She was speaking at the launch of their report on gender-based violence during the elections, targeting special interest groups on Thursday.
Nafula Wafula, who helped with research for the report said that parties are not set up internally to respond to any kind of violence targeting aspirants.
“While there is an existence of a gender desk, most of them are not functioning, not to mention several parties have no clear definition of gender-based violence within the codes of conduct of the party,” she said.
She said if we do not define political gender-based violence for what it is, it will continue to fall through the cracks and will be looked at as a type of misconduct among aspirants.
She said that the seriousness of political gender-based violence needs to be addressed.
In recent data that Siasa Place sourced from the Independent Electoral Boundaries and Committee (IEBC) in regards to youth elective participation, 2017 had 3,428 youth who were on the ballot, while 2022 had 4,350.
“An increase of 922. When it comes to those who were elected, in 2017, 314 youth were elected while in 2022, 335 youths won this is an increase of 22,” Wako said.
In comparison to the various positions, Wako said, most youths are in the MCA position, about 317 in the 2022 election.
“Sadly, out of the 317 elected youth MCAs, 303 are male, 14 are female,” she said.
Looking at the numbers, more youth are joining political leadership and their entry needs to be safeguarded from violence and intimidation.