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Post poll violence pre planned: report

NAIROBI, May 27 – A report released by a local non-governmental organisation on Tuesday shows that the post election violence in Kenya was pre-planned.

The report titled ‘Who is Guilty?’ was compiled by the Youth Agenda and details all forms of violence committed in the country more than two months after the disputed December poll.

“Pre-planned electoral violence represents nearly three quarters of all the reported incidents at 71 percent, compared to 20.73 percent for the spontaneous incidents,” the organisation’s Chief Executive Kepta Ombati said when he released the report at a Nairobi hotel.

Ombati said that they had documented evidence on how many of the incidents were planned long before the elections were held.

“This includes the hiring of youth to either disrupt or cause mayhem during the election period itself,” he declared.

Organised criminals gangs like the outlawed Mungiki sect, Jeshi la Embakasi and Kamjesh among others are blamed for perpetrating most of the chaotic atrocities that threatened the country’s stability early this year.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairman Maina Kiai, who launched the report, said the country could witness more of such cases unless the current constitution is changed.

“We are a bunch of violent people. We are a society of hypocrites and unless we come to terms with that reality, we may never change the situation. This country needs a new constitution for things to change,” he said.

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Kiai uttered that the report by the Youth Agenda would help the country to reflect and realise the need to embrace peace and unity.

The 88-page report largely blames the youth for active participation in the killings of nearly more than 1,500 people and the displacement of over 500,000 others.

About 600 suspected perpetrators of the violence are being held by the police, many of them young people accused of having killed, maimed or burnt people’s houses after the presidential polls.

The findings indicate that the youth were responsible for planning 7.32 percent of all incidents of pre-planned violence.

Older persons were responsible for 17.07 percent.

Joint planning accounts for 57.32 percent of all cases, the report said, while revealing that it was difficult to establish responsibility for the remaining cases.

“The youth were the main actors taking the lead with responsibility for 54.88 percent of all the cases, while older people account for only 14.63 percent,” Ombati said.

The report also lists down a number of recommendations including the total overhaul of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), which it says should be replaced with competent professionals.

It also recommends the formation of a special police unit to handle election-related offences in the country.

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“This is to ensure that there is effective enforcement of electoral laws and regulations.”

Other proposals outlined in the report include the necessity of educating Kenyans on the need to shun violence countrywide through civic education programmes.

The report suggests that the youth be actively engaged in the search for solutions for electoral violence as well as other political, economic and social problems.

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