NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – The police have warned Kenyans against spreading falsehoods that there is a plot to rig next month’s elections.
Speaking during the launch of Sisi ni Amani Kenya – a campaign supported by Safaricom – acting police spokesman Charles Owino cautioned that such idle talk is dangerous and could lead to unnecessary incitement.
“Let people stop rumours that the election is going to be stolen; that there is going to be violence… the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and even the police have put their best foot forward,” he asserted.
According to Owino, the police, the IEBC and other key stakeholders are actively working to ensure credible polls and utterances of possible election rigging are hearsay that could hamper efforts to enforce peace.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has alleged that the shutting down of 17 transmitters belonging to Royal Media Services was part of a plot to rig the elections.
Owino further explained that police officers are undergoing special training ahead of the March 4 elections.
“For the first time we have sent election manuals on security to the last officer on the ground. We are not taking chances. We are ensuring vigilance in all the 47 counties and we are gathering intelligence to ensure there will be peace throughout the country,” he maintained.
In unison with the Judiciary, Owino said the police have also prepared sample charge sheets for election offences and that police officers were already being trained on the exercise.
He said the hearing day for election-related offences will be set within three days.
Other interventions include planned meetings with candidates who will be briefed on what will be expected of them during the election period to ensure they do not breach the set laws.
Additionally, special teams will be established to handle cases involving women, children and the elderly in relation to the election.
Owino observed that women candidates have in past elections been the most disadvantaged especially where violence has occurred and assured that this time, enough security had been delegated to provide them fair competition with their ‘powerful’ male counterparts.
“We have come up with a programme that women are going to be given special attention to ensure they win their seats fairly. Anyone who interrupts women during elections should know there are 20-30 men behind that particular lady,” he declared.
Owino regretted that despite efforts being made to change the police image especially after the 2008 post-election violence, the force was still being considered as the dumping ground for unqualified Kenyans.
“Give us the best children. Police is not the dumping ground. Give us the best brains to compete. We want young and brilliant people… don’t take all of them to the corporate world. You must also fight that your police are paid well,” he said.
The police was in 2008 blamed for mishandling people and also accused of raping women and children instead of giving them protection.
Owino’s pledged to Kenyans that in this election, they should expect to see a well organised force that will play its role of observing order and also punishing law breakers who threaten national peace.