23 January 2013

Kenya Turns to Peace Meetings Ahead of Elections

The Kenyan government has arranged 12 peace meetings in sensitive areas of Uasin Gishu County to foster peaceful co-existence ahead of the March general elections, Kenya's The Standard reported Wednesday (January 23rd).

Meetings will be held in areas that suffered violence after the 2007 elections, said Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Abdi Hassan. The government has also planned seven meetings for specific groups such as elders, youth, women, the business community and religious leaders.

"The aim of these meetings is not only to end the cycle of violence but also to work hard to make the county a growth centre of the North Rift and a financial and services hub," Hassan said, adding that he is optimistic the county will overcome its reputation as a hot-spot for violence.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo warned that police would arrest any person found carrying weapons, including stones, pangas, planks, metal rods and knives.

"A panga is a farm tool, but we get alarmed when we hear that a person is buying five pangas to keep in his house," he said. "There are no farms in Nairobi and we wonder what they are buying them for."

Kimaiyo said traders recently transported pangas to Nairobi's Kibera slums and sold them to residents.

Last week's party primary nominations saw several incidents of violence across the country, including in Karanja slum where ten people have been arrested and will be charged with damaging property, said area police chief Bernard Muli.

More than 66,000 police officers were deployed in polling centres across Kenya during the nomination exercise, Kenya's Daily Nation reported.

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