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Security chiefs say no to repeat of 2007 chaos

Kenya’s top law and order enforcers have confided that elaborate security plans are in place to ensure peaceful electioneering devoid of large-scale criminal activities before and after the August 8 General Election.

High-ranking officers drawn from multisectoral State security agencies say that adequate measures have been taken to see to it that the countdown to the voting day and the period thereafter are free of crime-related incidents that could lead to loss of lives and property at massive scales similar to cases witnessed after the 2007 elections.

Referring to the matter for 10 years down the line, security chiefs agreed that the 2007/8 post-election violence took long to contain because relevant people in authority might have slept at the switch, thus leaving the menace to spread wantonly. “What happened following the 2007 elections was very unfortunate.

The bloodbath and destruction of property should never have taken place at all. People in the right offices failed to make prompt decisions. It was the bureaucracy in government systems that failed Kenyans at that time.

Such an anomaly will never be witnessed in Kenya again,” a highly placed operative stated, shortly after he coming from a high level security meeting.

Talking to the People Daily in confidence on Wednesday, the top brass security personnel declared that both the epilogue and prologue of this year’s polling exercise would be free of violence and firmly trashed any fears pointing at possible eruption of chaos arising from both the pre-and-post-elections activities.” “Rule that one out. There will be no violence in Kenya because of elections.

That will not happen. There is no room for that. We know for sure that there will be spirited attempts by some elements to incite people to violence. However, what the citizens of this country must be assuredof is that sufficient measures have been put in place to ensure an incident-free election exercise,” the senior officer said.

The law enforcer added: “Of course we are aware that some elements will be tempted to act in a manner that threatens law and order but they shall be contained within the shortest time.

This one is for sure: There shall be no violence during this year’s election; we are fully prepared for any form of election-related crimes and provocation. We are on top of things.

“The assurance by the top security chiefs comes only four weeks after Interior Cabinet Secretary Maj-Gen (rtd) Joseph Nkaissery and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet issued a stern warning against perpetrators of election-related criminal activities.

Two weeks after addressing media on April 24 outside his Harambee House office, Nkaissery said the government had stepped up measures to stop the violence that had characterised the then party nominations after one person was killed in Homa Bay and others injured in several scuffles.

The CS said: The national government has steered clear of party primaries. However, going by the number of incidents of chaos and violence, the government has decided to step in and take decisive action to maintain peace and stability.”

Nkaissery subsequently directed the police to provide security without favouring any political party or aspirant. All relevant security apparatuses in the country are on the alert and appropriately briefed and drilled in regard to all aspects surrounding this year’s General Election, the officers revealed.

They said all instigators of criminal activities at electioneering would be apprehended and stringent legal measures taken against them, citing an incident in Nakuru county where unruly demonstrators flocked onto the Nakuru-Eldoret road at the Sachang’wan area to block traffic on the busy highway in protest against an alleged rigging out of a Jubilee Party MCA candidate during the party nominations.

The picketers were quickly dispersed by a combined operation of law and order enforcement officers and normalcy returned on the highway in less than 30 minutes.”

We are on full alert. Our systems are more than prepared; anyone intending to cause mayhem will be courting problems for themselves. We shall not allow a repeat of violence precipitated by elections. We have learnt our lessons.

What took place after the 2007 elections will never, happen in this country again. Take that to the bank,” another senior officer disclosed. The security chiefs attributed the post-election savagery on 10 years ago to sheer lackadaisical approach by high-ranking people in government who either failed or refused to take appropriate action even after being adequately briefed on the seriousness of the matter.

“What happened in 2007/8 is very regrettable. It has come out clearly that there was sufficient and prompt intelligence. But action was not taken in good time. Some senior people in government slept on the job. Officers on the ground cannot make a move unless they have been given orders from their seniors yet those orders were not coming.

When the orders finally came, damage had already been done and the mayhem in Kenya was already in the eyes of the international community. It is bureaucracy that failed Kenya at that time, not the country’s security apparatus,” another officer noted.

The high-level officers who talked to us were all in agreement that so many conclusions had been drawn from the 2007/8 scenarios and that a lot of efforts have been made in ensuring that Kenya does not host any such form of barbarism in future elections.

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