Before the August General Elections, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i emphasized the government’s commitment to providing adequate security during political party nominations.
The CS said that multi-agency security teams had already mapped out potential flashpoints in regions where the nominations are expected to be hotly contested, and police and other security teams had been deployed, during a consultative meeting with the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) on Friday.
According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s deadlines, the exercise will begin in two weeks and must be completed by April 24th.
“We have plans in place to ensure that the nominations, like any other election-related activity, take place in a peaceful setting. ‘During this season, we are always analyzing the levels of exposure to security problems and adapting our strategies accordingly,’ he said.
The specific deployment plan, according to Matiang’i, will be implemented in tandem with increased monitoring aimed at combating hate speech and incitement during political activities.
Similarly, the CS criticized the country’s long-running campaigns, claiming that they were putting a strain on the police and security services tasked with dealing with campaign-related incidents.
The CS chastised the IEBC for its unwillingness to enforce the campaign’s calendar frame, claiming that protracted politicking was harmful to the national and family economies.
“Inclusive debate on election laws and campaign financing rules, which should have limited politicians’ expenditures,” he said, “is also fueling violent fights over bribery money sharing among mobilized audiences.”
“For the past four years, we’ve been in campaign mode. Violent clashes ensue as a result of conflicts over the distribution of campaign payments.”
“We’ve had to devote more efforts to managing charged crowds and containing the resulting conflicts, and this has put a strain on the resources we have at our disposal,” he continued.
On his part, IRCK Chair Father Joseph Mutie emphasized the importance of the state’s security preparations for the August elections, particularly its plan to combat ethnic mobilization, which undermines cohesiveness, security, and peace.
Rev. Mutie also requested assurances from security forces that neutrality would be maintained throughout the polls, as well as adequate security for IEBC workers.
In response, CS Matiang’i stated that the government would satisfy the IEBC’s security needs threshold, as requested by the Commission, and challenged religious leaders to dedicate more efforts to peace and reconciliation.
He said the curfew that had been enforced in areas of Garissa County would be revisited ahead of Ramadhan, pending the restoration of peace.
Dr. Matiang’i also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to prioritise inter-community peace-building programs in addition to current security operations in Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, and other insecure areas.
As a result, Matiang’i denounced allegations of government complicity in extrajudicial executions as unjustified and incorrect.