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County steps up vigilance ahead of poll

Local administrators in Trans Nzoia County have been directed to beef up vigilance activities within their areas of jurisdiction ahead of the August 9 General Elections.

Area County Commissioner (CC), Mr. Samson Ojwang, issued the directive during an election preparedness meeting, which involved Deputy County Commissioners (DCC), Assistant County Commissioners (ACC), Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs drawn from all the five Sub- counties.

The election forum was held at National Museum Western Region Headquarters, Kitale town on Thursday.

Referring to the Standard Operating Procedures for the Peace and Security Management of Kenya’s 2022 General Elections booklet, published by the Ministry of Interior, CC Ojwang reminded the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO) of their key security mandates during this electioneering cycle.

“Each one of us has a duty and responsibility, to ensure their areas of jurisdiction are firmly secured before and after the polling day,” instructed Ojwang.

The CC directed the DCCs, ACCs and Chiefs to fully operationalize the Sub-county Security and Intelligence Committees, Divisional Security and Intelligence Committees and Locational and Sub-Location Peace Committees respectively, in order to effectively identify and handle security issues related to the current electioneering period.

As the electioneering cycle enters the homestretch, Ojwang cited collating and deliberating on operational reports for purposes of assessing and taking action on security matters as one of the key mandates of the Committee.

“Facilitating information sharing amongst national security organs on matters of national security, is another role expected to be discharged by all of us at this critical time,” the CC added.

Ojwang encouraged the team to work closely with security agencies, including officers of the National Police Service (NPS) and criminal investigations department to enforce and maintain law and order.

“In addition, we expect Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs to closely work with all village elders and members of Nyumba Kumi outfits in the locations and sub locations,” added Ojwang.

The County Administrator instructed the NGAO officers to keenly monitor conduct, movements and activities of all candidates for electoral positions and their supporters, as well as business people in the County.

“Be quick to flag out any activities which border on insecurity by the politicians, supporters and shop owners,” appealed Ojwang.

Besides the problem of ethnic profiling by some candidates, the CC asked the local administrators and security agents, to ensure none of the candidates and supporters ferried dangerous weapons such as pangas, machetes and knives to clubs and political rallies.

“It is time we also monitored what the politicians are carrying alongside themselves to ensure none of them drive around with their campaign vehicles loaded with dangerous weapons,” he added.

He at the same time ordered thorough investigations into business premises and owners to ensure they were not stocking items that can easily be bought and put into wrong use by the politicians.

“Any business person stocking new items like pangas, machetes and related commodities must be thoroughly investigated,” the CC ordered.

With some cases of violence having been reported in some parts of the County, Ojwang told DCCs and chiefs to identify groups of youths affiliated to different politicians whom members of public have accused of perpetrating the same.

The CC identified Tuwani, Matisi, Kipsongo and Namanjala as some of the worst hit areas by incidents of violence caused by politicians in the County.

County Police Commander (CC) Ms. Jacinta Wesonga asked the local administrators to profile problematic youths within their areas to enable the security agencies streamline their operations aimed at enforcing the law.

“This would greatly assist the county security team to handle security issues, especially at this critical time when Kenyans are preparing to head to the ballot next month,” remarked Wesonga.

By Maurice Aluda

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