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IEBC warns candidates in Turkana over  misconduct

Candidates contesting for elective seats in the August general election will be held responsible for the misconduct of their supporters and agents.

Turkana central sub county IEBC returning officer Godfrey Eng’or said the candidates according to the electoral law had made a  commitment to ensure their supporters and agents act within the law.

“We are going to follow those candidates whose supporters violate the law either by causing violence or breaking any other electoral law,” said Eng’or.

The candidates were asked to ensure they adhere to the campaign schedule to avoid clashing with their opponents.

The IEBC sub county coordinator at the same time advised the candidates vying for various elective posts to ensure their agents welfare is catered for to prevent cases of agents shifting alliance and loyalty to their opponents.

“We have in the past experienced cases of agents changing loyalty because of perceived neglect by the candidates or parties they were represneting,” said Eng’or.

Area Deputy County Commissioner Gathungu Machira who chaired the conference on peaceful elections in Lodwar, said the forum was aimed at identifying the threats to peace, the actors who might cause violence and actors that will respond to threats to peace.

Machira noted that failure to accept election outcome was a threat to peace and urged those candidates who will feel the outcome were not free and fair to seek legal redress.

“Unfortunately other candidates incite the members of the public and whip up emotions and resort to court of public opinion where facts may not have meaning and rumours and propaganda carry the day.  Raw emotions and violence take place leading to loss of lives, property and others get injured, ” said Machira.

He cautioned civil servants from engaging in partisan politics.

However, he defended the government against allegations of playing politics with relief food saying the government would continue to distributing relief food even during the campaign periods.

“Let us be honest with ourselves and not mix politics with relief food so that the needy do not suffer, ” said Machira.

He at the same time defended chiefs from political attacks saying they be allowed to discharge their mandate. He said chiefs as the chairpersons of the location security committees had a role of ensuring security is not compromised during campaigns.

Other issues raised included hiring of goons to disrupt meetings of their opponents.

Participants were urged to speak out over tell tale signs of violence and to also be on the look out for alarming messages on social media that could trigger violence.

Participants during sub county conference on peaceful election in Turkana county

Members of the clergy also condemned candidates who were putting up posters at the places of worship.

Samuel Nd’ungu of Mwiruti welfare association urged the IEBC to be transparent in the award of tenders for various services like transportation.

Additionally, members of the Turkana county drivers association said they had the capacity to supply transportation services and asked to be considered.

Some of the participants also commended the sub county security team for ensuring peace prevails in the sub county during the previous elections.

Use of government vehicles in campaigns as well as voter bribery on the name of good will and support to the community was also raised.

Sub county peace committee chairman Rev Boniface Lokuruka urged politicians to desist from giving youths alcohol to disrupt meetings.

“We shall judge you as leaders by the people you associate with during your campaigns,” said Lokuruka.

Turkana central sub county police commander Lee Njeru ordered anyone in possession of guns illegally to surrender them.

Njeru said only security officers and licensed firearms holders are allowed to hold firearms.

By Peter Gitonga

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