Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i, has assured Kenyans of their safety and security as the country gears up for electioneering period in 2022.
Speaking at the closing of the annual National Youth Conference, the CS assured Kenyans that the Interior Ministry is on top of things and well prepared on security matters.
“We’re better prepared than we were in the past,” Matiang’i said. He went on to address some of the strategies that the Ministry has put in place to ensure that things remain calm before, during and after the elections.
“We have mapped out areas which we think are hotspots, we’re monitoring the situation in these areas and there are people collecting data on a daily basis because we do not want to be caught off guard,” Matiang’i said.
The Interior Minister also instructed the Director of Administration in the Ministry, Paul Famba, to ensure that National Government Administration Officials (NGAO) are working with community based groups and organizations as part of the measures to curb violence during elections.
“I now authorize Mr Famba, who is in-charge of the County and Regional Commissioners, to ensure that the officers’ work with the various groups in the society to ensure that there is peace,” he said.
In addition, he said, he was keen to work with the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), Inter Religious Council of Kenya and other religious organizations to spread the message of peace.
He further thanked the NCCK for their cooperation in the past, assuring that the government welcomes and will continue to recognize and value their role in the society.
The CS noted that the Government has also incorporated the youth in the strategy to ensure that Kenya emerges from the election period, a peaceful nation. “We are working with Boda boda and Matatu operators, owing to their influence and the large number of youth working in the sector,” he said.
He also urged Kenyans to be responsible with their civil liberties, especially on the use of social media as a communication tool.
“Although the government was not keen on gagging free speech, it will crack down on those who abuse the right,” he cautioned.
While outlining these measures, Matiang’i sought to clarify that the Government would not be interfering with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as they conduct the General Elections expected next year. “As the security sector, we do not conduct elections, we facilitate IEBC to do it,” he said.
He said that the government is working towards a peaceful election. “By peaceful, I mean that, no bullet is shot, no one is hurt and no one is displaced,” Matiang’i explained.
The CS also explained that Kenyans should be allowed to exercise their democratic right without any hindrances.
To ensure that this happens, he revealed that, more staff have been hired to enhance the process of issuance of Nation Identification cards, a requirement for people to vote in Kenya.
Matiang’i, however, admitted that the security operators are still working on a number of incidents.
“We’re tracking a small terrorist cells in Mombasa and we have caught almost all of them, we’re also dealing with cattle rustling in Laikipia and we’re making progress, save for these small incidents, we’re safe and sound,” the CS assured.”
By Duncan Mutwiri and Grace Naishoo