CS Matiang’i assures Kenyans of poll readiness

Deployment of more security personnel to protect voters and electoral commission officials during the repeat presidential poll on October 26 is under way, acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has said.

Dr Matiang’i said anyone attempting to disrupt the election “will face the full force of the law”.

“Let it be known that assault or obstructing public officers from carrying out their lawful duties is a serious offence,” Dr Matiang’i said.

“Any threats or actions that are in contravention of the law, including calls to disrupt the election are illegal and will be dealt with as such.”

The minister was speaking to regional and county commissioners at the Kenya School of Government in Kabete, Nairobi, on Monday.

Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet told the administrators to expect additional security officers in their areas.

“We have mapped the whole country and calculated deployment of personnel,” the police boss told the gathering.

“Should you see additional assets in your regions, it is up to you to see how to maximise them to achieve the set purpose.”

Dr Matiang’i said campaigning would end at midnight today.

“If a political party holds a rally tomorrow, that will be an illegal meeting,” he said.

The opposition National Super Alliance announced resumption of street demonstrations from Tuesday.

Dr Matiang’i told the administrators to enforce the law decisively.

“The law is clear on how you should go about the business of managing security. You will be expected to be firm, resolute and fair,” he said.

The cabinet secretary added that those who take part in protest marches or engage in violence, disruption of lawful meetings, looting, blockading of roads and obstruction would not be treated as demonstrators but rioters.

Demonstrators, he added, should be peaceful and unarmed because “their rights are not superior to other constitutional rights such as those protecting life and property and the political right to vote”.

“Any person engaging in acts that will stop citizens from exercising their right to vote will not only be in breach of the law but will similarly not be protected,” the minister went on.

Dr Matiang’i pledged security for Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission officials on polling day.

“The government will ensure IEBC officials have adequate security to conduct the presidential election without interference from any quarters,” Dr Matiang’i said.

He told the administrators that they had the full backing of the government.

“You are expected to carry out your duties in this regard without fear or favour and in accordance with the law,” the cabinet secretary said.

The minister revealed that IEBC officials met with the National Security Advisory Committee last week.

During the meeting, he said, the electoral officials presented their security needs “that are now being implemented”.

Police said people who prevent others from voting, block entry to polling stations, attack electoral officials or destroy election materials face up to six years in prison.

Those arrested for the offences would be charged in accordance with the Penal Code and Election Offences Act, Mr Boinnet said.

They asked leaders to resolve their disagreements through the courts.

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