Interfaith council in Garissa has called for peaceful campaigns and subsequent voting in the coming January 5 by-election for the Garissa Township parliamentary seat.
Speaking at a Garissa hotel Tuesday, during a post-election review of the August 9 general election, the interfaith council, which is also made up of peace elders and state actors, revealed that they had identified some gaps, which will now be sealed to ensure that peace is maintained during the by-election.
“We are looking at the pros and cons of the last election and trying to bridge the gaps experienced to bring long lasting solutions towards a peaceful by-election,” said Morris Okello, a member of the interfaith council in the county.
Another council member, Abdifatar Ahmed Omar said that lack of peace will interfere with business and normal routines of the residents, including times of worship which will in turn slow down development.
“I urge the residents of Garissa to maintain peace because without peace, there will be no development. Without peace we will not go to our places of worship and so let’s not be divided by this by-election,” Omar said.
“Let us not create enmity because of a one-day event. It is only one person who will win the election and then life goes on,” he added.
Reverend John Mwaura, who is the chairman for Garissa branch of the National Church Council of Kenya urged the security agencies in the county to ensure that there will be no unnecessary overcrowding in the polling stations during the Election Day and act promptly on any cases of voter bribery.
“We ask the IEBC and the security agencies to be on the lookout and secure all the polling stations on time. We have been assured that only the registered voters in the specific polling stations will be allowed in during the voting day,” Mwaura said.
“Voter turnout in the last election was very low and we call upon every registered voter in this constituency to come out to vote so that they can take the responsibility of picking the kind of leaders we want,” he added.
The leaders further called on the government to increase police patrol on the Garissa town market popularly known as Souk Mugdi, which is always set on fire every time there is an election in the county.
Security sources who spoke in the meeting assured the residents that all preparations had been done to ensure that the voting exercise will go on smoothly.
The Garissa Township constituency by election is set for January 5, 2023. The seat fell vacant after the immediate former MP Aden Duale resigned to take up a cabinet position as the Defense Cabinet Secretary.
Six candidates have been cleared by the IEBC to contest in the by election among them Major (Rtd) Mohamed Dekow who is contesting on UDA ticket, UDM’s Nassir Dolal and former Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman who is running on a Democratic Party (DP) ticket.
Others are Ali Mohammed (Usawa wa Wote), Shure Ibrahim Malow (Narc Kenya), and Hassan Abdi Ahmed (Safina).
By Erick Kyalo