Police identify priority areas to safeguard poll

Police have revised their security plans to match new threats to Thursday’s election, which have been occasioned by calls for a boycott.

Unlike in the August 8 elections, police will give priority to protection of voters to ensure they are not attacked by those opposing the presidential poll.

Police have also said they will prioritise protection of electoral officials and securing of polling stations and materials, areas which have also been identified as the new threats.

While Jubilee Party led by President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked its supporters to turn out in large numbers to vote, Mr Raila Odinga’s Nasa wants the election called off.

Police have also identified electoral violence hotspots, saying some are considered “critical”, while others will be under “close scrutiny”.

Heavier deployment is expected in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, parts of Nairobi as well as Mombasa and other parts of the Coast, which have been identified as chaos hotspots.

At least two police officers will be posted at every polling station.

Other contingents of police will be on standby for crowd control, evacuation, escorting and protecting ballot materials.

In areas where violence is not expected, the National Youth Service will be used for crowd control.

“Adequate security arrangements are complete to ensure anybody who wants to vote is not prevented from voting,” Interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said.

Areas in the North Rift region have been mapped as hotspots and additional security personnel deployed to quell tension.

In Uasin Gishu, security patrols have been intensified in Turbo, Kesses, Langas and Burnt Forest to contain any acts of lawlessness and sustain the prevailing peace in the region.

In West Pokot, county commandant Mathews Kuto said: “We have sufficient security officers and they are alert and patrolling 24 hours.”

In Nandi, the county security chiefs assured residents of their safety as they vote.

County commissioner Lucy Mulili said security officers had been deployed to all polling stations and the county’s border with Kisumu County to repulse any threats to peace during the process.

“We want to assure all locals, especially those of Terik, that they should not be afraid since we guarantee total security for those intending to vote,” she said.

In Baringo, county commissioner Peter Okwanyo said: “No one will be locked out of the election process. We want every Kenyan to exercise their democratic right and those in the banditry-prone areas will be provided with adequate security.”

In Nyeri, county commissioner Karuku Ngumo said they did not anticipate any violence but they were leaving nothing to chance.

In Isiolo, county commissioner George Natembeya said more than 800 police officers, including a riot squad had been deployed to the area.

In Embu, the Eastern regional security committee has assured voters in the area of enhanced security.

Additional reports by Dennis Lubanga, Barnabas Bii, Titus Ominde, Titus Oteba, Flora Koech, Oscar Kakai and Philip Bwayo

Protesters in Kisumu chant “No Raila, no election”.

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Written by Daily Nation

The Nation Media Group (NMG) founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1959 has become the largest independent media house in East and Central Africa. It has been quoted on the Nairobi Stock Exchange since the early 1970s.

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