Kenya police heighten security ahead of March polls

February 12, 2013 12:17 pm
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Acting Police Spokesman Charles Owino told journalists on Tuesday morning that 17 senior police officers had been appointed for purposes of coordinating elections in all the major regions of the country/FILE
Acting Police Spokesman Charles Owino told journalists on Tuesday morning that 17 senior police officers had been appointed for purposes of coordinating elections in all the major regions of the country/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12- Police have assured Kenyans of ample security before, during and after the March 4 General Election.

Acting Police Spokesman Charles Owino told journalists on Tuesday morning that 17 senior police officers had been appointed for purposes of coordinating elections in all the major regions of the country.

He added that a special charge sheet had been developed by the police legal department, the Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), to prosecute those suspected of electoral offences.

“We have also put a sample of charge sheets of all the election offences. That means that we are not going to have cases of faulty charge sheets anymore,” he said.

Owino further noted that police would pay special attention to women candidates to ensure they were not harassed or intimidated by their opponents.

He also revealed plans to set up polling stations with metal detectors to boost security during the polls.

“We are waiting for the IEBC to make available metal detectors so that we secure the voting stations at least several hours before voting starts and we screen people as fast as possible,” he said.

Owino further expressed confidence at the ability of the Judiciary to speedily conclude cases surrounding electoral felonies saying the police would not tolerate any acts of impunity during the electioneering period.

“The Chief Justice has told us that the hearing of election cases will be as fast as within three days and that is the only way we can deal with matters of impunity in this country,” he argued.

The IEBC Chairman’s security detail will also be beefed up following an incident on Sunday night, where police officers mistakenly shot at APs guarding his home.

Owino explained that the communication channels between various police officers would also be synchronised to avoid a repeat.

He further reiterated that politicians would not be allowed to fly helicopters after 6:30 p.m. owing to the fact that it posed a security threat to the individuals and the country at large.

He said that police officers were under strict instructions to detain such helicopters and ensure that they did not take off after hours.

He added that most helicopters were visually piloted and were not the best mode of transport in dark hours or when the weather was unfavourable.

“This is not the time to allow people take such risks. If politicians insist on leaving after 6:30 p.m. then they should travel by road so we call upon them to conclude their campaigns early and to use the best helicopters possible,” said Owino.

Police officers are currently going through a training session on electoral preparations.

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