In post-independent Kenya, violence has been a defining feature of election periods. In light of the increased risk of election-related violence before, during and after the 2022 Kenyan Elections, Search for Common Ground (Search) and its partner organisations (Human Rights Agenda (HURIA), Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), Kiunga Youth Bunge Initiative (KYBI), Ijara Women for Peace, Tana River Peace, Reconciliation and Development Organisation (TRPRD) began implementation of an 18-month European Union-funded programme.
This programme works together with local-level actors, empowering them to serve as an early warning and intervention mechanism in order to strengthen resilience to election-related violence during the critical electioneering periods, both in the campaign and after the elections have been conducted. The project targets Garissa, Lamu, Tana River, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa counties, aiming to respond to increasing election-related tensions and conflicts which often fuel violence and can lead to increases in radicalisation and recruitment by violent extremist organizations.
The baseline findings suggest that:
- While support for election-related violence is relatively low, there is a need to address attitudes and beliefs that lead to violence in the target counties.
- The spread of propaganda and hate speech, especially via social media, remains a significant challenge to communities. Social media (Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok) poses a far greater risk than the mainstream media in terms of spreading hate speech, incitement and propaganda that can cause violence.
- CSOs and CBOs play a key role in mobilizing people to engage in peaceful activities that promote social cohesion and peaceful co-existence among communities in the target counties.