Kenya heightens security ahead of Aug 9 polls

Nairobi:  Kenyan police announced they have heightened security ahead of the general elections slated for August 9.

Hilary Mutyambai, inspector-general of Police, told mediapersons here that a total of 150,000 officers drawn from partner securities agencies will be deployed during the elections to ensure a safe environment for all to cast their votes, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Formed police units have also been deployed across the country to offer tactical support to general duty officers before, during and after the general elections,” Mutyambai said.

He revealed that there is a further provision for the deployment of aircraft in strategic locations to provide logistical and air support when and where required throughout the electioneering period.

The election is set to be tightly contested between major political alliances — Kenya Kwanza headed by Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja which is led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who is serving his final term in office has opted to support Odinga, his former rival for the top post, who is making his fifth presidential run, rather than his own deputy.

Mutyambai observed that as part of preparations for the elections, they have put in place elaborate measures and strategies to ensure that security is guaranteed throughout the electoral cycle to enable the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct free, credible and fair elections.

“To ensure proper coordination of all activities surrounding the election, Kenyan police have also established an election security secretariat,” he said.

Mutyambai observed that Kenyan police have also developed election security guidelines for use by police commanders to address gaps in operations experienced during previous elections.

“The police are aware of the need to sensitize and train officers on election security management to ensure they are acquainted with their roles and responsibility,” he said.

He added that the security agency will also lease additional vehicles and operational equipment to ensure that 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.


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