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Mass action after elections not banned, says government spokesman

The government has clarified that it has not banned demonstrations after elections, saying the issue was misreported and facts misinterpreted.

This comes after reports emerged that police officers would arrest anyone who disputes results of the August elections and calls for mass action or carves out parts of the country as their exclusive political zones.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday in Nairobi, government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe said that the government did not criminalise mass action but mass violence.

“There is a big difference between demonstration, picketing, protest and mass violence.

“Nobody has criminalised mass action but we are just preparing for people who will commit crime in the name of mass action,” said Mr Kiraithe.

In the government document seen by the Nation on Monday, some of the recommendations carried therein criminalised “incitement, zoning areas exclusively as belonging to particular candidates or parties, engaging organised criminal gangs to intimidate opponents, bribery of voters, disruption of opponents’ campaign meetings and encroachment by people living near forests.”

LIKELY OFFENCES

The document further listed the likely offences after voting which included, “refusal to accept results, incitement and calling for mass action, disruption of counting of votes, announcing incorrect results, arson, vandalism and interference with government installations within forests, like water resources, communication installations and power lines.”

At the same time, Mr Kiraithe said that the government has put in place measures which will ensure that elections are held on August 8 as planned and that preparations for them are on track.

OPERATIONAL PLANS

He added that operational plans in the departments directly involved in the election are also on schedule.

“The Government is committed to ensuring that the electoral process is done as per the Constitution.

“In general, the entire government machinery has been mobilised to render any support required to guarantee a democratic, credible and peaceful electoral process,” said Kiraithe.

He said that the government is committed to a free, fair and credible democratic process and that concerted efforts all stakeholders are needed from.

“We would like to remind political parties, the civil society and all institutions of governance in Kenya that the responsibility of delivering constitutional, democratic, credible and peaceful elections is not sole responsibility of the IEBC,” he said.

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