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Kenya pledges heightened vigilance to curb polls related violence

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will intensify surveillance in all the 47 counties to identify and degrade criminal elements planning to cause mayhem during the Aug. 8 general elections, senior officials said on Monday.

Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua said the government has put solid measures in place to prevent civil disruptions ahead of hotly contested elections for a new president, lawmakers and ward representatives.

"Our overriding objective as a government is to prevent and act on any security threats to civilians during this election cycle.

"We will use all tools available to ensure the security of the citizens and their property is guaranteed as we head to the August polls," said Kinyua.

He spoke in Nairobi during a forum for senior government officials to evaluate the success of community policing initiative and how it can be applied in this year’s election cycle.

The East Africa nation is already in a campaign mode ahead of August polls that are expected to be a turning point in the country’s politics, economy and civil order.

Major political parties are expected to hold their primaries later this month to select candidates who will vie for elective seats.

Kinyua said that state agencies are on high alert this campaign season to curb hate speech and divisive rhetoric that may plunge the country into chaos.

"As we approach the general elections, our security apparatus have enhanced vigilance to ensure peace prevails in the country.

"There are robust measures in place to ensure the election and post election phase does not threaten Kenya’s stability," Kinyua said.

He added the government had learnt sobering lessons from the 2007/ 2008 post election violence and would not let similar episode occur this year.

An estimated 1,300 Kenyans died while an additional 600,000 were internally displaced during an orgy of violence occasioned by disputed presidential poll results.

Kinyua said the state has mobilized strategic players to be part of home grown initiatives to promote national cohesion ahead of August polls.

"We have adopted a holistic approach involving the state, private sector, civil society and religious institutions to promote peace and inter-ethnic harmony that are key to deter election related violence," said Kinyua.

Kenya is prepared to handle free and fair polls in August as stipulated in the country’s constitutions.

The Principal Administrative Secretary in the office of the president, Stephen Kirogo said that robust policing and civic education has been prioritized to ensure the August polls are conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner.




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