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November 18, 2018

180, 000 security officers to man Tuesday General Election

Internal security principle Secretary Karanja Kibicho during a media briefing at the KICC August 3,2017 where he said all necessary security arrangements for the next week's general election had been put in place.Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE
Internal security principle Secretary Karanja Kibicho during a media briefing at the KICC August 3,2017 where he said all necessary security arrangements for the next week's general election had been put in place.Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE

The National Police Service has marshalled 180,000 personnel from various security agencies to man the Tuesday General Election.

They include AP, GSU, regular police and those from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, and the special police officers outsourced from the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Prisons Service and the National Youth Service.

Interior PS Karanja Kibicho yesterday said they have mapped the country and will deploy officers according to the security needs of each area, and as requested by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The special police officers will be deployed in relatively calm places.

Kibicho, however, said although NYS, KWS, KFS and Kenya Prisons are not police officers and cannot enforce the law, the law allows the IG to gazette and declare them as special police officers for a specific purpose and in this case it will be to support the IEBC in its conduct of elections.

"It is not the entire country that requires the personnel from the NPS. There are those places that are relatively calm historically and therefore the IG will deploy these special police officers appropriately because we also understand their training is matched with the requirements of the enforcement," Kibicho said.

"As a government, the best we can do is to assure people that there will be security and we are doing that ... We have deployed and we shall deploy both resources and equipment to ensure that this election is conducted in a free environment where every Kenyan is free to move about."

IG Joseph Boinnet said NYS personnel will be deployed for crowd control only.

"Their [NYS] training involves some elements of law enforcement and when we appointed them as special police officers we brought them to support us in boosting our numbers and they will be deployed on simple crowd management duty and nothing more than that. The bulk work is left for police to do," he said.

Kibicho said the government has assured the country of security.

But he said we are in a season where there is a lot of fear spread by politicians, which is making some Kenyans choose to leave their residences and go back to their rural homes that they perceive as more peaceful.

He said the best thing the government can do is to tell them that they need to remain calm and remain where they have registered as voters, and trust that the state will protect them.

“But we must appreciate the decision to stay or not to stay is personal and as a government we cannot deprive Kenyans that right and say that you are not going to move, stay where you are, vote," Kibicho said.

"We shall continue assuring them and showing them that we are ready to protect [them] and it is my appeal to Kenyans that they should believe us because we are four days [to the election] and we have seen the security agencies have performed very well such that this is the most peaceful four days to the election."

The PS said there are incitement cases being investigated.

"Action will be taken and you must appreciate that we are in a charged political season therefore we do not [want to] aggravate the matter by being careless in the actions that we take and I appeal we all be accommodative and patient as police do their work," he said.

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