Illegal threats during Elections – including Witchcraft

An earlier post on RoGGKenya.org has to be taken even more seriously than we have thought. We stated in the post that witchcraft is illegal in Kenya, and we thought this was just a minor issue. We could barely imagine that a politician would actually threaten citizens with witchcraft if they don’t cast their votes the way this politician likes. The Star Newspaper quoted Tigania East MP Mpuri Aburi saying, “If you don’t vote for Kiraitu (as governor in Meru) and he (the witch doctor) points at you, you are no more”. This actually means the politician is threatening all those among the voters with death who – against all reason and evidence – believe in the effectiveness of witchcraft.

The “witch doctor” and the politician are obviously not only violating the Kenyan Anti-Witchcraft Act but also the Elections act, which declares anybody bound by the code should “refrain from any attempt to abuse a position of power, privilege or influence, including parental, patriarchal, state or traditional authority for political purposes including any offer of reward or threat of penalty;” (Sec 6(i) Elections Act). (The article in the Star newspaper erroneously cites another section of the act that has been repealed in 2016). But in addition a politician like this is violating the Election Offences Act, Sec. 10 (1) which reads:

“A person who, directly or indirectly in person Undue influence or through another person on his behalf uses or threatens to use any force, violence including sexual violence, restraint, or material, physical or spiritual injury, harmful cultural practices, damage or loss, or any fraudulent device, trick or deception for the purpose of or on account of (a) inducing or compelling a person to vote or not to vote for a particular candidate or political party at an election; … commits the offence of undue influence.”

The person who commits the offence of threatening to inflict harm on a voter in order to to influence the voting is

“liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years or to both.”

see Election Offences Act 11 (a)

External Links:
The Star of Feb 19, 2017: Meru witch doctor will guard Kiraitu’s votes in August poll – Aburi
The Anti Witchcraft Act on Kenyalaw.org