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Matiangi throws a damper on NASA ‘Adopt a Polling Station’ plan

“Protecting of the ballots is the responsibility of the IEBC… this is not a banana republic,” Matiangi said/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has warned that only officials accredited by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will be allowed around polling stations on August 8.

The CS said Kenya is not a “banana republic” and said the Ministry would not allow anyone to “cause confusion” during next month’s General Election.

“I want to urge you (police) to follow the law. That circular from the IEBC that says who will be at the polling station is what we shall follow and anyone who is not mentioned in that circular, should be removed from the polling station the fastest way possible and by all means necessary,” the CS instructed.

“We mean business. Elections are serious business.”

He was speaking on Friday when he closed a multi-agency conference intended to review the status of security agencies’ preparedness before, during and after the polls.

In a thinly veiled attack on the opposition, he said it is strictly the responsibility of the electoral body to protect the ballot papers with the help of security agencies.

“Every party has a right to have an agent everywhere in the country. The question of strongholds and so on does not arise. It is our responsibility to ensure that we protect those agents and all other electoral officials. But people who do not have legal status at the polling station, should not be allowed anywhere near,” he stated.

“Protecting of the ballots is the responsibility of the IEBC. Let us be firm and clear with everyone. We have institutions; this is not a banana country.”

While assuring the police bosses of his support, the CS urged them to act firmly against any person that threatens the peace and stability of the country.

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He urged Kenyans to exercise their democratic right and proceed home to wait for the outcome.

“I urge you to be so firm with them (people who are not accredited by the IEBC) and clear them and keep them very far away from every polling station in this country so that we can have a clear and effective electoral process as we go forward. We shall not allow chaos and confusion at the polling stations. Everything should be clear and straightforward,” he said.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga had earlier urged his supporters to adopt a polling station “to guard his votes.”

– Security Plan –

Addressing the top security chiefs among them the 47 County Commanders, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet assured the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC) of their readiness to ensure voting will be carried out in a safe environment.

In the conference, which is part of a series of other similar meetings, the electoral body was represented by Commissioner Paul Kurgat, who briefed them on what they expect during and after the election.

The police boss said already a plan to ensure peace and stability prevail is in place insisting that they will operate in “strict fidelity to the law” and will be very responsive and nonpartisan.

“The National Police Service is ready and prepared to provide a safe, secure and peaceful environment for Kenyans to participate in the 2017 election,” he said.

Also present were members of the Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Prisons Service and the National Youth Service.

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