Politicians urged to shun violence during election

Kwale County Commissioner (CC) Gideon Oyagi has asked candidates running for various political seats and their supporters to shun violence and bad politicking ahead of the August 9 general election.

Oyagi told the candidates running for MCA, MP, Woman Rep, Senate and Governor positions to conduct their campaigns in a manner devoid of acrimony, divisiveness and hate speech.

He urged political players participating in the forthcoming general election to conduct their political activities in a peaceful manner.

Oyagi cited incidents in previous election campaigns that were plagued with violence and reiterated that the government will not allow such occurrences in the future.

The administrator said as the country gears towards the polls peace must be safeguarded at all costs ‘before, during and after the elections’.

The CC said it was essential for politicians to appreciate the need for peaceful co-existence by exercising high levels of tolerance for divergent views and avoid engaging themselves in provocative behaviour.

He said the security agencies will provide an environment conducive for all political parties and candidates to conduct their scheduled activities in a peaceful manner.

Oyagi who is also the Chairman of the County Security and Intelligence Committee (CSIC) spoke at a public forum on election preparedness held at the Kwale Cultural Centre.

He said the government has unveiled national, regional, county and sub county multi-sectoral coordination and collaboration forums on election preparedness with key stakeholders to develop strategies, systems and structures for the conduct of free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections.

Oyagi advised politicians seeking public office to give credible messages that would convince the electorate instead of attacking personalities and ‘spewing hate speech and profanity’.

The CC said politicians must be mindful of what they say when they mount political podiums to campaign in the run up to the August 9 general election in order not to undermine the national effort to conduct peaceful polls.

HURIA (a local Non-Governmental organisation (NGO) based at the Coast of Kenya) Executive Director Yusuf Lule noted that politicians must make peace a priority in the election campaigns.

“Peaceful campaigns must take centre-stage if Kenya is to make meaningful socio-economic progress,” he said.

He called on religious leaders to preach against violence before, during and after the election in order to ensure that peace reigns in the region.

Lule also said the media should be agents of social and economic progress and not agents of doom.

“The media has the responsibility in assisting in the sustenance of peace in the country rather than brewing conflicts and violence,” he said.

Kwale County Police Commander (CPC) Josephat Kinyua said the security agencies have mapped out hotspots ahead of the polls.

Kinyua said the mapping is to help in proper planning and coordination of timely responses by the security agencies to electoral chaos.

“As political campaigns gather pace we advise all those concerned to observe provisions of the law that guide the conduct of political players,” said Kinyua.

He further said, “Security agencies are well equipped and they will safeguard the residents in such a way that everybody will move from their home to the voting centers to conduct their civic right and go back peacefully”.

The CPC says police are well equipped and ready to police the August 9 general elections.



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