Security beefed up at Kenya ahead of general elections


Analysts say the 2007 and 2008 experience was a reminder of the significance of building strong institutions of governance…reports Asian Lite News

Kenyan police has said that security has been enhanced across the country to ensure peaceful general elections slated for Tuesday.

Police spokesman Bruno Shioso on Monday said that more than 150,000 security officers from the National Police Service (NPS), Kenya Prisons Service, National Youth Service, Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service, have been deployed to various parts of the country to secure the polls.

“The security officers are well resourced and in a high state of readiness to handle all forms of threats that may arise before, during, and after the general elections,” he added on the phone.

Nearly 22.1 million Kenyans will vote on Tuesday to elect the country’s fifth President, members of the National Assembly, Senators, and County governors, among others, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The east African nation is seeking to avoid all reasons that would raise doubts about the legitimacy of the Tuesday elections as it is an opportunity to put the country on political track after the post-poll violence of 2007/2008 that was caused by a disputed presidential vote tally.

Analysts say the 2007 and 2008 experience was a reminder of the significance of building strong institutions of governance, Xinhua news agency reported.

The two leading candidates are veteran Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and sitting Deputy President William Ruto.

The elections are hotly contested, with President Uhuru Kenyatta backing Odinga.

The most recent opinion polls have shown a tight race between Odinga of the Azimio la Umoja (Resolution for Unity) One Kenya Coalition, and Ruto of the Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) Alliance.

Shioso said the security officers are under instructions to guarantee Kenyans their safety as they go out to cast their votes and that all people go about their activities without fear of crime or harm.

The police spokesman noted that the government has resourced the service adequately, especially with additional vehicles and operational equipment, to ensure seamless and continuous operations during and after the polls.

He said the police are conducting threat and risk analysis to identify threats to national security which in turn will inform resource deployment in real-time.

Shioso said the NPS has established a national election security command center to be manned on a 24-hour basis and is fully equipped to handle election-related security challenges.

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