February 27, 2013

KENYA DECIDES: Kenyans Wary of Security

Scenes like these marred the aftermath of the 2007 General elections
Scenes like these marred the aftermath of the 2007 General elections

Although the Kenyan Government has assured its citizens that adequate security measures are in place for the upcoming March4th 2013 national elections, most Kenyans are wary that the polarized elections could be marked with violence.

However, security enforcement agencies in that country are calling on Kenyans to observe the rule of law during the poll.

Recent opinion polls continue to predict that there may not be an outright winner between the two top candidates Raila Odinga of Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and Uhuru Kenyatta, the Jubilee candidate and could lead to a possible run-off.

There are also concerns among Kenyans that another election crisis could result to a wide-spread security challenge.

Uganda Radio Network sampled some of the opinions of Kenyans about security and peace issues around the poll.

Kenya’s Police Inspector General David Kimaiyo dismisses any indications that the March 4th poll could be violent.

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network on phone from Nairobi, Kimaiyo said that security enforcement agencies have been deployed in sufficient numbers to police stations and already assigned to the 33,000 gazetted polling stations in the country.

This, according Kimaiyo, is aimed at minimizing risks to personal safety and security.

But analysts say a possible run–off could mean create a highly emotive atmosphere that can rapidly degenerate into violence and a general breakdown of law and order.

Anthony Wafula, a journalist and Media Consultant based in Nairobi, told URN that media as a stakeholder in the elections has been on the watch during the campaign and up to the elections, to counter any inciting messages or hate speech platforms.

In the previous poll, the media was also implicated in fuelling violence. Former journalist Joshua Sang is among the International Criminal Court suspects for his role in the post-election violence.

The other suspects are Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto and Francis Muthaura former cabinet Secretary. The four will face trial at the ICC in April.

Kenyan presidential candidates in their Monday TV debate reiterated that they will respect outcomes of the elections and divorce from any action that could jeopardize the peace and security.

Kimaiyo notes that security threats related to the forthcoming national elections may include civil unrest, terrorism and an increase in crime levels.

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