Kwale County Police Commander (CPC) Josephat Kinyua has called on the youth in the region to desist from being used as ‘tools of political violence’ in the run up to the August 9 general election.
Kinyua says young people should refuse to be misled into furthering the self-serving interests of rogue politicians and instead engage themselves in productive activities that will benefit them and the nation in general.
The CPC said it doesn’t pay for young people to involve themselves in political violence because when the politicians gain power they often abandon them to their own fate.
“We urge the local youth to stay clear of evil schemes by some rogue politicians and ethnic demagogues to use them to create anarchy in the lead up to the polls,” he said.
He said political violence has the tendency to plunge the country into chaos and anarchy and disturb the peace, noting that Kenya has had enough electoral violence in the past.
Speaking to the press in his office, Kinyua said the youth should utilise opportunities in their various localities such as the ongoing third phase of the National Hygiene Programme (NHP) dubbed ‘Kazi Mtaani’ initiative championed by the national government across the 47 counties.
“The Kazi Mtaani programme is designed to keep the youth away from crime and engage them in meaningful and productive activities,” he said, adding that they must not allow politicians to use them as tools to perpetrate violence.
Currently 6,000 Kwale youth are engaged in the empowerment programme across the five sub counties of Matuga, Msambweni, Kinango, Samburu and Lunga Lunga earning Sh405 on a daily basis.
“We want the youth to resist efforts by unscrupulous people to recruit them into criminal gangs to foment trouble and cause violence in the name of elections,” he said.
Kinyua said for the country to register sustainable peace, unity, inclusivity and prosperity young people should desist from engaging in election related crimes.
He regretted that last week there were reported acts of violence perpetrated by the youth in Lunga Lunga constituency when rival political camps clashed.
“We are not going to entertain outbreaks of violence between opposing political sides,” he warned, adding that security across the coastal county has been increased ahead of the elections next month.
“As members of the security agencies we are steadfast and resolute in keeping the peace before, during and after the polls,” said the county police commander.
He also regretted the emergence of juvenile criminal gangs in parts of Matuga Sub County and called on parents and guardians to inculcate a culture of good morals, honesty, and hard work in young people.
Kinyua noted that unscrupulous politicians often capitalised on the general unemployment situation among the youth to induce and pay them to join criminal groups to instigate violence and cause harm to their opponents.
At the same time Kinyua urged Wananchi to guard against the use of hate speech ahead of the forthcoming general election.
The police chief said Wananchi have the cardinal duty to defend the country’s interests and stability regardless of their tribe or political affiliation.
“What we need as a country is religious, tribal and political tolerance to preserve the peace of the land for the sake of posterity,” he said.
He said the security agencies are well equipped and ready to police the August 9 general elections.
“We have enough officers ready to be deployed during the August elections to ensure a safe environment for all to cast their votes,” he said.
Kinyua reiterated that security was a shared responsibility and thus ‘all hands should be on deck’ to protect the country and the people from all forms of violence in a bid to build a peaceful and prosperous nation.
By Hussein Abdullahi