NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 – The Ministry on Interior and Coordination of National Government has reiterated the readiness of security agencies to secure the country during the electioneering period.
Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery has said security of women candidates will be enhanced to guarantee their safety as they campaign.
Speaking on Tuesday during a forum organised for women candidates, Nkaissery said the State was committed to ensuring that all candidates participating in the August 8 General Election do so unhindered by rivals out to trigger chaos.
“The government has embraced a multi-sectoral approach to enhance peace and security in the country. All the security agencies have been sensitised to facilitate the security and integrity of the elections. We will ensure the security of all candidates and beef up security of women candidates depending on the threat on individual candidates,” he assured.
Nkaissery further said that 20 counties with a higher likelihood of violence had been identified with adequate measures put in place to pre-empt occurrences of unrest during the electioneering period.
“We have mapped out security conflict hotspots and developed focus mitigation strategies. We’ve identified particularly 20 counties and therefore women candidates in those counties will be given security based on the situations obtaining in specific hotspots,” said Nkaissery.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairperson Wafula Chebukati who also spoke during the forum said the IEBC was in the process of training security officers on election management in a programme being undertaken in partnership with security agencies while affirming IEBC’s readiness to punish those who contravene the electoral code of conduct.
He said that a batch of 600 officers had already been trained with a similar number to follow suit. The programme will continue until at least 150,000 security officers are trained and deployed across the county.
“This programme will see a total of 150,000 officers cascaded down to the ground for purposes of polls. We want to assure you there will be security throughout the country,” Chebukati reassured.
“IEBC stands for free, fair and credible elections and if you’re harassed please bring your complaints to us and the elections code of conduct enforcement committee will look into your complaints and punish the perpetrators,” he added.
Assurances by Nkaissery and Chebukati came even as the Ministry of Public Service Youth And Gender Affairs announced that it had put in place measures geared towards eliminating cases of gender-based violence.
Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said during the forum that the ministry was working with other global agencies to support initiatives aimed at empowering women rise above challenges that come with their participation in elections.
“We have recently developed a four-year programme aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls in all public and private spaces. This programme is timely as women are targeted at higher rates than their male counterparts,” Kariuki said.
She further stated that the ministry was engaging key stakeholders to ensure women are given an equal chance to articulate their agenda in the public saying involvement of all members of the society in politics will ultimately result into better leadership.
“It is my hope that we will achieve a strengthened institutional framework for the electoral processes; a strengthened participation of voters, parties and candidates with emphasis on youth and women, and end up with peaceful elections,” the CS stated.
The United Nations Women, Country Director Zebib Kavuma who was also present during the meeting called for participation of more women in leadership saying the involvement of women in the law making process is critical in shaping the country’s democracy.
“The success of any legislative process is not divorced from the tyranny of numbers. Studies have shown over and over again that when women are represented in the legislature in significant numbers, they can bring their priorities forward to influence the legislative agenda,” she said.
She said the UN had embarked on a programme to support the electoral process in order for it to be free, fair and credible.
Also present during the meeting was the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Gender Affairs Zeinab Hussein as well as women legislators Cecily Mbarire, Beatrice Elachi and eminent women leaders who included Phoebe Asiyo.