Diplomats urge Kenya to ensure free, fair and credible polls

July 26, 2017 12:43 pm
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Matiangi addressing the press after meeting the diplomatic corps/MOSES MUOKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – Members of the diplomatic corps in Kenya on Wednesday met with Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, where they raised their concerns ahead of the next month’s General Election.

The diplomats urged the government to ensure they facilitate the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with the necessary resources to ensure they conduct a credible election.

“The number of Kenya’s friends who were represented in this meeting here are also interested, for good reasons, that we carry on a free, fair and credible election,” Matiangi told journalists after the meeting.

He said he briefed the diplomats on the National Police Service security plan across the country that has been put in place to ensure sanity prevails during and after the elections.

Already, the National Police Service has mapped out perceived hot spots in the country, details of which were made available to them by the CS, who was accompanied by the Deputy Inspector General in charge of the Kenya Police Joel Kitili and other senior government officials.

“It is the responsibility of the IEBC to conduct elections. Our responsibility as the security sector is to support the IEBC or to facilitate them to deliver in the constitutional mandate. That is all we have been doing,” Matiangi said.

“The plans we have made, whether it is in the deployment, the resources we have put aside, the assets that we have arranged and the mapping we have done in the country, is all intended on facilitating the IEBC. We have worked with them on that.”

He said all the concerns raised were addressed effectively but made clear that “it is not the responsibility of the government to conduct the election. Our constitution is probably clear on this. It is the responsibility of the IEBC to conduct an election.”

Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, leaving the venue of the meeting at its conclusion/MOSES MUOKI

The first similar meeting with the diplomats was in June this year.

This comes a few hours after the British Government issued travel advisories to its citizens advising them to be on high alert, 12 days to the election.

It doesn’t, however, cover most of the country’s tourist destinations.

“Presidential, parliamentary, county and local elections are scheduled for 8 August 2017. Rallies and protests may take place in the lead up to, during and after elections. In the past, some political protests, rallies and demonstrations have turned violent. In 2007 disputed elections led to violence in many parts of the country. The 2013 elections were largely peaceful,” a section of the advisory reads.

“During this period you should exercise a heightened level of vigilance and take care in public places where people gather. If a demonstration or disturbance takes place, leave the area quickly and don’t attempt to watch or photograph it.”

On Tuesday, the CS said Police officers across the country are on high alert as the clock ticks towards the general election.

He said they are not taking any chances, in a bid to ensure Kenyans exercise their democratic right in a safe environment and there is sanity after the outcome.

He was speaking in Nakuru when he met Rift Valley region, senior officers, on an assessment tour and to also review some of the measures put in place for the areas faced with a myriad of security challenges among them cattle rustling.

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