ELECTION PREPAREDNESS

Bribery and unmet promises to voters blamed for electoral violence

The CS said they are prepared to handle the August polls.

In Summary

•He said the team would henceforth be meeting monthly to review the election preparations.

•He also told politicians to stop harassing public servants and abusing them while on duty.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i at a past event.
Interior CS Fred Matiang'i at a past event.
Image: DANIEL OGENDO

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has blamed bribery, handouts and unmet promises on electoral violence witnessed in parts of the country.

He blamed politicians giving out the handouts and monetary promises that are not met for the violence even as he added they are prepared to handle the August polls.

Matiang’i said the country is generally safe and ready to hold the polls.

“We are ready for the elections so far. The police have presented their reports on the preparedness of the polls. We are ready,” he said.

The CS spoke after meeting a multi-agency team to discuss election preparedness at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.

The CS said there had been four incidents of violence in the past months, and they were all linked to handouts and unmet promises.

“It’s not the job of police officers to mediate disputes of handouts or failed promises. Let us have decent campaigns and be responsible,” he said.

“The endemic false promising of money to the people, an incredible amount of bribery and failing young people, and sometimes mismanaging those organisations on the ground and causing conflict remain a challenge,” he added.

He said the team would henceforth be meeting monthly to review the election preparations.

Those present included the National Police Service, officials from Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, National Cohesion and Integration Commission chairman Samuel Kobia, the intelligence community, among others.

He said wanainchi never gang up against each other unless incited by politicians.

He also told politicians to stop harassing public servants and abusing them while on duty.

“Don’t be intimidated by politicians. Respect public servants. Attacking those with no platform to defend themselves is immoral,” the CS noted.

He said they will increase police deployments across the country ahead of the elections.

According to him, politics and common sense are not mutually exclusive. He was responding to claims by a section of UDA politicians that police were abetting violence in some areas.

Matiang’i also said terrorism remained a threat in the country and urged the public to be vigilant.

“Don’t drop the guard. The threat is real and out there. We have disrupted many terror plans through public cooperation, but we urge for continued help to tame this problem,” he said.

Police were blamed for some of the violence witnessed in the country in the past.

For instance, NPS was criticized for using extreme force on opposition supporters over the past four months leading to and after the 2017 General Elections.

There have also been concerns that some police officers are suffering from psychosocial issues.

During the meeting on Monday, commanders said they had developed elaborate security and intelligence strategy to ensure peaceful elections.

Some form of violence has accompanied almost every election in Kenya’s history, pattern authorities want to end.

Areas deemed to be flashpoints for violence have been mapped, and police will be ready to avert a repeat of 2007-08.

After the presidential result of the 2007 General Election was disputed, violence erupted, leading to the death of over 1,000 people. Many others were displaced.

An inquiry into the post-election violence established that the police were ill-prepared, partisan and heavy-handed in trying to quell the chaos.

The police are using intelligence and preparing for various scenarios that could play out during the exercise.