Residents of Tana River have urged the government to beef up security in tallying centers across the County, to avert chaos and loss of lives as was witnessed in 2017.
Kenya National Human Right Commission (KNCHR), in its Report on the 2017 election documented three deaths that occurred at Hola boy’s secondary school, which was a Tallying Center.
Speaking at a County conference on peaceful election convened by Tana River County Commissioner (CC), Thomas Sankei, in Hola the residents said that the police should be vigilant by doing thorough screening at tallying centers and only allow authorized persons to access the centers.
Sankei exhorted Tana residents to love one another and live in unity “by being your brother’s keeper”
County Police Commander, Richard Ngeno, urged the stakeholders to maintain peace and not wait for the government to do so, since it has consequences, saying neighboring countries that are in turmoil are due to poor leadership and political violence during elections.
“Discipline comes in two forms either self or enforced discipline. We should keep the peace. If we do not, the government will force it through the police. People who will be arrested will be prosecuted and taken to jail,’’ said the Police boss.
The Police Boss further revealed that crime statistics in the County are low and residents should live in harmony by respecting each other. “We as the police are ready to work
with the people of Tana River, to ensure we have peace towards the elections. We do not want to bring peace to compulsion”.
The County security team attended the meeting, as well as religious leaders, women, youth, and community leaders, County Secretary and Deputy County Commissioners from Tana River, Galledeytu, Bangale, Bura, and Tana Delta sub-counties.
Hotspots areas that will need close monitoring ahead of the polls were mapped out.
Chara, Mwina, Miticharaka, Kilelengwani, Chewani, Hirimani, Duka Nocho, Hosingo, Bis Argesa, Mororo, Nanigi, and Chewani are some of the areas identified by the residents as hotspots.
Hussein Shambaro, Chairman of the Tana River Peace Committee, said drought and voting along tribal lines is a recipe for conflicts, but as a result of sensitization on peace, the communities know the effects of conflicts and clashes.
“We want the meetings to reach the grassroots so that the people can be more motivated, politics will come and go and we will remain here, let us unite and keep peace on the Tana River.
Rose Haluba, a women leader, said the meetings will help to foster peace and they will be peace champions by creating awareness through a series of local meetings.
Youth leader, Abdi Argamso, said the youth will not be used by politicians to disrupt political rallies of their opponents, but will strive to empower themselves economically through programs like the National Hygiene Program (NHP).