Kenya wraps up security plans for Tuesday general elections

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Security preparations for the August 8 Kenyan general elections have been completed, Principal Secretary to the Ministry of Interior, Karanja Kibicho said on Thursday.

Kibicho disclosed this at a news conference in Nairobi while briefing newsmen on the preparations fro the elections which he hinted had began more than one and half years ago.

“We are now in the process of deploying more than 150,000 security officers to more than 40,000 polling stations across the country

“All the security measures will be in place 48 hours before the actual elections commence,” Kibicho said.

Kibicho said that the government was aware of the security challenges because of the large number of electoral seats to be contested for.

“Therefore, we were able to have correct projections on the amount of personnel required,’’ he said.
According to Kibicho, all security personnel have undergone rigorous training on how to secure the polls.

“I am happy to report that we have been able to carry out training where we simulated a number of situations,’’ he added.

The security of the polls will be managed by a multi-agency team drawn from all the disciplined forces.

Kibicho said that security would be deployed down to the lowest security level at the village level.

The principal secretary said that as a result of the preparations, Kenya had enjoyed one of the most peaceful pre-election environments of any general election in history.

“We have been able to prevent any forceful displacement of voters, a situation that was common in previous elections,” he added.

In a related development, Kenya’s Judiciary vowed to speed up the process of resolving electoral disputes that may arise from the polls.

Chief Justice David Maraga told journalists in Nairobi that the constitution authorizes the Judiciary to resolve electoral disputes and sets out the timelines within which they should be determined.

“I will, if necessary, allow our judicial officers to work outside the official hours , into the night and through weekends, to ensure that we keep to the constitutional timelines without compromising on the quality of rulings,” Maraga said during the launch of the Bench Book on Electoral Disputes Resolution.

The Bench Book will provide a quick reference or “one-stop” guide for judges, judges officers and judicial staff on legal, procedural and administrative issues that frequently arise during electoral disputes resolution.

Maraga noted that the Judiciary Committee on Elections which spearheads administrative arrangements and capacity building measures for Judges and Judicial Officers has also put in place measures to efficiently and expeditiously determine electoral disputes that arise from general elections.

During thegeneral elections in 2013, the judiciary handled 188 election petitions.

Maraga said that more election petitions are expected to be filed in court after the 2017 elections given that 14,523 candidates have been cleared to vie.

The chief judge said that the judiciary has put in place preparatory arrangements for the resolution of the electoral disputes bound to arise from these elections.

“All the judges and magistrates who will handle electoral disputes have undergone intensive refresher training,” he added.

“This was necessitated by the changes made in election laws since 2013, and the gaps that were noted during the 2013 petitions and as well as a review of the electoral dispute resolution jurisprudence arising from the 2013 petitions,” he noted.

Maraga, who is also the President of the Supreme Court said that public confidence in the judiciary as a neutral and credible arbiter of electoral disputes rests on how fairly and efficiently the institution resolves these disputes.

He urged the country never to forget the crisis that gripped Kenya in the aftermath of the 2007 polls.

“Those horrid events will always be a reminder that when electoral disputes are left in the hands of non-judicial processes, Kenyans pay an enormous price,” he noted.