Kiambu County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha today held a consultative meeting with stakeholders to iron out potential threats to the prevailing peace in the county ahead of the general polls.
He said the team under the Kiambu County Multi Stakeholder Forum for Peace Actors deliberated on unfolding scenarios that could spark acts of political intolerance as campaigns intensified towards the elections.
Nkanatha told the meeting held at his board room that although the IEBC was yet to officially announced the campaigns period, most politicians had gone full throttle in their quest and even engaged in unethical activities to woo voters.
“The IEBC official campaign period should kick off starting next month and yet some politicians have already started campaigning and we have also started seeing fake information as well as party nominations bribery which can bring about insecurity”, he said.
The commissioner said the team had identified hate speech and incitement to acts of political violence as one of the primary drivers of conflict during electioneering period and prepared to monitor and take action against those found culpable of related offences to ensure that the exercise was peaceful.
He cited recent cases where some politicians vying for various seats incited their supporters not allowing their competitors to run their campaigns in areas they assumed were their perceived territories.
Nkanatha called upon stakeholders in the meeting to forge a unified approach in prevention and response to potential threats to peace during the electioneering period
He said preliminary overview of the county indicated that some political parties were forming alliance against another sections and emergence of criminal gangs, hate speech perpetuated by profiling of other communities were some of the challenges that the county wants to deal with at this time.
“The government will not sit down and wait for this to happen, we are ready and so far we want to ensure we rid of illegal brews, carry out swoops on criminals who are this electioneering period tend to thrive”, he said.
At the same time, he appealed to political leaders to conduct peaceful campaigns ahead of the August elections saying the exercise would come and go as Kenya will still remain a nation.
“This county and the country as a whole is ours and we cannot move from it thus it is necessary we all be ambassadors of Peace”, Nkanatha said
The meeting was organized by National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management together with the GiZ, stakeholders who included head of departments, Senior Security Personnel, Church leaders as well as Community leaders.
By Wangari Ndirangu