The state has activated the Rift Valley Regional Multi-Agency Command Center which will coordinate security patrols and respond to emergencies in 14 counties during and after the August 9 General Election.
Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohammed said information will be relayed in real-time by members of the public via mobile telephone to the command center thus helping security teams to respond faster and more accurately to crime and other security related incidents. The Center’s communication system is connected real time to police vehicles.
Mohammed stated that the centre situated at the Rift Valley Regional Police Headquarters in Nakuru will, besides monitoring electoral activities on a 24-hour basis, promptly respond to early warnings by documenting and offering necessary action to prevent occurrence or escalation of criminal activities.
While informing the public that the facility can be reached through mobile phone number 0793100200 the administrator appealed to residents to take advantage of the centre, assuring them that all reported cases will be handled with utmost confidentiality.
The Regional Multi-Agency Command Center is further linked and will coordinate operations of County Multi-Agency Command Centers in Baringo, Bomet, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kajiado, Kericho and Laikipia Counties that are also fully operational.
It will also oversee operations of similar outfits in Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, West Pokot, Samburu, Trans Nzoia, Turkana and Uasin Gishu counties.
A team of security officers drawn from the National Police Service (NPS), National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have been deployed to man the Regional and County Multi-Agency Command Centers.
The centers will also work on a coordinated approach with other state institutions such as Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), Kenya Prisons Service (KPS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), National Youth Service (NYS) and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) among others in discharging their duties.
“The Centers are meant to curtail situations where the different security agencies act in isolation, leading to confusion and inefficiency. We will ensure our country remains peaceful before, during and after the elections. We will ensure synergy between all security agencies and stakeholders across the country, Mohammed assured.
Mohammed said the political class should spare the country bad behavior during and after the polls because the economy cannot afford another set of disruptions as the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic disruptions were still lingering.
“Electioneering should not be a messy affair if everyone plays by the rules and stays ethical in their campaigns .The government is determined to bring to an end the culture of chaos and tension around elections in this country.
Mohammed said violence can never be part of the country’s political fabric.
“It will not happen in our country. Kenyans are after development-leaning and progressive leaders. We are keenly following political activities in this region,” he said.
“Security agencies are under firm instructions not to spare individuals engaging in acts of violence and issuing inflammatory utterances,” added the administrator.
Mohammed said every Kenyan has a right to live and own property in any corner of the country, adding that the government is committed to delivering a peaceful election free from intimidation or threats from any quarters.
“Election is a one day affair. Everyone must be allowed to air their opinions without blackmail, threats and violence. The country has to do everything to prevent election-instigated violence. I have tasked local administrators to walk from village to village and spread peace messages. Don’t fight with the police because they are only here to maintain law and order,” Mohammed pointed out.
The administrator urged residents to work closely with the security department and report unlawful political activities within the region.
While noting that peace must prevail for Kenya to develop, Mr Mohammed noted that the country was bigger than individuals and must be preserved for future generations.
He announced that political gatherings and meetings will not be allowed 48 hours before the August 9 polls.
“The so-called peaceful demonstrations will not be given clearance until further notice as security personnel will be busy monitoring the polling process and its aftermath while securing lives and properties of Kenyans,” said the Regional Commissioner.
Mr Mohammed observed that a security operation to dismantle organized criminal gangs that have been linked to a spate of murders, armed robberies and political violence had made significant gains following the arrest of gang leaders and members and their subsequent arraignment in court.
“We have in police custody a major drug peddler who is believed to be financing activities of an organized criminal outfit. The operation has successfully dismantled most of the criminal gang cells,” he said.
He said enough security officers had been deployed in the restive Kerio Valley and added that areas that are prone to violence during elections will be monitored to ensure that there is peace during the August poll.
By Anne Mwale and Waweru Mwangi