Raila Odinga links police with ‘plot’ to rig polls

The police are involved in a vote rigging plot, a presidential candidate has claimed.

National Super Alliance’s Raila Odinga claimed that the Opposition had information about meetings of Jubilee strategists where the scheme to use the security forces in next month’s elections was hatched.

“Documents in our possession, and which we are sharing with the public, indicate that a team of 42 police officers have been assigned what the Kenya Police Service calls ‘special duties’ via a circular dated June 23, 2017,” Mr Raila said.

The officers’ kits had been withdrawn and they were issued with clearance certificates and asked to report to police headquarters to be issued with discharge certificates on or before July 2, 2017, he went on.

Police spokesperson Charles Owino, However, shrugged off Raila’s claims, clarifying that the officers were being relieved of their duties so that they could take up their appointment with the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

“This is quite normal. I am aware that some officers have been discharged. They have not been sacked or retired. They are transferring their service to NIS, which is a different entity, and they will not be required to be in uniform. It is normal for NIS to recruit from the police service,” he said.

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Mr Owino maintained that the discharge had nothing to do with the August 8 election, adding that the officers were among a number of Kenyans – some from the military and other fields – who had been picked by NIS.

“Surely the police cannot be involved in a scheme to rig elections. We are a professional service and we are a tool of the Executive. We serve the government of the day but we are not involved in politics. That is why we provide security to all parties and candidates. If the Opposition were to win the elections, we would serve the new government with dedication. We should not be accused of such plots because our work is to serve all.”

But Raila insisted that “information at our disposal indicates that these officers will be recruited as polling clerks of the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission), of course with instructions from the Jubilee administration on how to behave”.

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