A police officer quells chaos between supporters of rival politicians in Malindi Town recently. The police are leaving nothing to chance in the coming elections. [Photo: File Standard]
The Government is assembling a huge security machinery to man the General Election after narrowing down to 20 counties prone to violence.
The counties include Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Narok, Kisii, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Turkana, Bungoma, Kiambu, Kilifi, Lamu, Migori, Baringo, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet and Meru.
There have been sparks of pre-election chaos in some areas and killings believed to be motivated by resurgence in gang killings associated with election years.
On Thursday 27 suspects armed with crude weapons were arrested by police in Kisumu as they were allegedly planning to disrupt a NASA event. Then the previous day, seven youth were arrested in Nairobi’s Embakasi area after the killing of a butcher led to chaos between two communities.
Then on Monday, residents of Kibera found five mutilated bodies that had their eyes gouged out stacked in sacks. Investigators said the murders bore the hallmarks of gang-related killings.
A report at the National Cohesion and Integration Commission has termed the mapped counties as “problematic and requires close monitoring,” failure to which may lead to instability. Chairman Francis ole Kaparo said his commission “is doing a lot more to ensure no violence rocks the 2017 elections.”
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Officers drawn from the Kenya Police, Kenya Prisons, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Youth Service, Kenya Forests Service, Administration Police and the General Service Unit have been put on standby to neutralise any possible sparks of violence.
“We have identified 20 counties as hot spots and we have put in place adequate measures and beefed up security in these areas,” Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery said.
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Sources at the Interior ministry said recruits at the Prisons Training College, Kenya Police Training College and the Administration Training College will also be deployed to boost their counterparts in the field.
There are about 20,000 recruits in the three colleges. Already, officers from the Kenya Prison’s Service and Police have been barred from going on leave up to until the polls.
A National Disaster Operation Centre that will coordinate the whole exercise is also being set up at a cost of Sh50 million.
The Kenya Police Service (KPS) has been allocated Sh1 billion while the Administration Police Service has been allocated Sh432.8 million for “election-related security operations.”
A multi-agency operation codenamed ‘Operation Dumisha Amani’ will be monitoring the election and responding to emergencies that may arise.
At the core of the team are 530 security agents who underwent training at the Embakasi Garrison-based Humanitarian Peace School (HPPS) which will train others on how to respond to terrorism and civil unrest. National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga has rejected the inclusion of soldiers from the military, claiming it is a plot by government to rig the elections.
According to a Budget and Appropriations committee report, the Kenya Police Service (KPS) had requested for Sh1.7 billion for what it referred to as “increased security requirements” during the election, nomination and campaigning period operations. Administration Police requested a similar amount.
A further Sh743,455,166 was requested and approved for the new KPS recruits to take care of food, uniform and stationery. The AP was also allocated Sh489,636,778 for their recruits food, uniform and stationery among others for May to June 2017.
“The net change in recurrent estimates under supplementary II for State Department for Interior amounts to Ksh 3.7 billion with the increases seen in the following heads; Office of the Deputy Inspector General-Kenya Police Services Sh1.7 billion, Office of the Deputy Inspector General-Administration Sh887 million and OPP Headquarters Sh543 million,” the Budget Appropriations Committee notes.
Interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka, however, said that further contingency allocations can be provided to all security agencies in the event of emergencies.
He said the departments had requested for more money based on the challenges they expect. However, the National Assembly saw it fit to allocate a lower amount which security agencies will have to work with.
“What we had requested for was much higher, but we got much less. The security agents will now just have to work with what they have to ensure that tranquility prevails. We have to make do with what is available. What happens in government is you make a request but it might be reduced and you are given what they believe is enough,” Mr Njoka said.