NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – A youth group fostering peace in Kibera has urged the government to investigate intelligence reports of illegal arms acquisition in the area ahead of the general election.
The Action Inter-Ethnic Youth Dialogue and Peaceful Reconciliation Project- Kibera said it was increasingly worried about the reports which were confirmed by Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo at a press conference on Sunday night.
“These intelligence reports are in the public domain and yes it is true the issue of purchase of crude weapons has been experienced in certain areas. It is important that when we get such information we act on it, in a very pro-active manner to ensure we avoid any potential tipping over of this into violence,” Erick Onduru advised.
According to Onduru, Kibera is quite cosmopolitan and every group may react differently when faced with frustrating situations like the just concluded nominations that left voters complaining over elaborate party disorganisation.
He said most residents were angered because they were not given a chance to vote for their preferred candidates yet their parties went ahead and submitted a list of winning candidates.
“Supporters of various candidates exchanged blows because they were not satisfied with the results. These results were not credible at all. In most cases the ballot papers arrived very late; in some polling stations voting did not take place but the results were released, this made the voters to feel betrayed,” he decried.
Kibera which was among the hardest hit by the post election violence of 2008 experienced pockets of violence after the conclusion of the nominations last week.
Locals complained that preferred candidates were rigged into the party lists locking them from the choice of electing their preferred leaders.
They group asked political parties to embrace democracy for the sake of national unity especially in the coming elections.
It regretted that political parties were keen to point fingers at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in complete ignorance if their own parties conducted free and fair nominations.
“Political parties are every day singing and asking the IEBC to ensure elections will be free and fair, why do they want that fairness and they themselves cannot do that for their party members?” Onduru wondered.
He also said political leaders should take responsibility and play their role of ensuring peace among the people they lead.
Picking from lessons learnt after the controversial nominations, Onduru advised IEBC to ensure fairness in the general election.
“It is perhaps an important moment for IEBC to take the cue from the just concluded party primaries that the voter today is more sensitive, conscious, aggressive, highly aware and therefore will always demand for a more transparent and fair process for electing their leaders,” he asserted.