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Matiang’i assures on security after State House meeting

The country’s top security organ met at State House on Monday for a final briefing on Tuesday’s elections.

Chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the National Security Council meeting sought to ensure that the elections are held peacefully.

After the meeting, acting Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said sufficient measures had been put in place to ensure Kenyans were safe during and after casting their ballots.

He dismissed reports of orders to police to use excessive force.

Dr Matiang’i refuted claims by some leaders that more officers had been deployed to their strongholds compared to other parts of the country.

SECURITY THREATS

He said the deployment of officers was based on priorities by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and security threats facing some regions.

More than 150,000 police officers have been deployed to help maintain peace, with some assigned to guard IEBC officials.

“I would like to assure everyone that there is no need to worry. We have had the most peaceful pre-election period since 1963 and the leaders have conducted themselves responsibly,” he said at Harambee House.

The minister added that security forces were aware of Al-Shabaab threats in some parts of the country, especially the northeast.

Dr Matiang’i told Kenyans that through the modernisation of the National Police Service, officers had enough and efficient equipment to deal with insecurity.

VIOLENCE

“The number of police officers and the equipment has been increased,” he said, and asked observers, the world and critics not to keep referring to the 2007/8 post-election violence.

Present were cabinet secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury), Amina Mohammed (Foreign Affairs), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

In Homa Bay, County Commissioner Kassim Farrah said police officers were ready for any eventuality.

“We have formed a response centre where security agencies will respond to any emergency. The centre will be used as the county command post,” he said.

Kisii County Commissioner Samuel Njora said the region’s security team had already visited all polling centres.

“We have put stringent measures to ensure everything runs smoothly,” he said.

SAFETY

Coast residents were also assured of safety. Kilifi County Commissioner Joseph Keter said anybody attempting to disrupt the polls would be arrested and prosecuted.

In Kwale, county chief Kutswa Olaka said the region was set for the elections. He added that police officers would guard poll stations.

“Enough officers have been deployed in Kwale. We request residents to report any emergency to relevant agencies,” he said.

In Tana River, County Commissioner Oning’oi Olesosio said measures had been put in place for  peaceful polls. He told locals to turn up early to vote, despite the dusk-to-dawn curfew.

“We have the needed materials and personnel,” he said in Hola Town.

Taita-Taveta County Commissioner Kula Hache said more than 700 police officers had been deployed to the 354 polling centres.

Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Wanyama Musiambo said a standby reinforcement team had been set up. He described the security preparedness as the best ever.

His Central region counterpart Anne Ng’etich said multi-agency teams had been deployed to polling stations. 

EMERGENCY SERVICES

“We do not anticipate violence but we are prepared. Humanitarian agencies like Kenya Red Cross and public and private emergency services have been mobilised,” she said.

Northern Kenya Regional Coordinator Mohamud Saleh echoed his counterparts in Central and the Rift Valley.

Bungoma County Commissioner Joshua Chepchieng also assured area residents of their security. Mr Chepchieng said the county security team had deployed enough officers across Bungoma.

“We are not leaving anything to chance. We are out to guarantee security to residents. Those who cause chaos will be arrested. We also ask locals to go home after casting their votes,” he said.

 

—Reports by Stella Cherono, Barack Oduor, Ruth Mbula, Gitonga Marete, Fadhili Frederick, Kazungu Samuel, Lucy Mkanyika, Eric Matara, Abdimalik Hajir, Titus Oteba and Nicholas Komu

The last batch of officers will arrive at their destinations by Sunday.

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