12 February 2013

Kenya: Senior Police Officers to Serve As Kenyan Election Commanders

A senior police officer and a deputy have been appointed for each of Kenya's 17 regions to act as elections commanders to ensure the country conducts peaceful general elections next month, Kenya's Capital FM reported Tuesday (February 12th).

The officers will work with 17 regional co-ordinators from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

"We have also put a sample of charge sheets of all the election offences. That means that we are not going to have cases of faulty charge sheets anymore," police spokesman Charles Owino said.

Owino said police will pay special attention to women candidates to ensure they are not harassed or intimidated by their opponents.

In addition, he said polling places will have metal detectors installed to improve security.

Owino's announcement comes a day after the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) released a report questioning whether the police and the IEBC are prepared for the upcoming elections.

The 102-page report highlights extensive misconduct, including the assault of women candidates, the re-emergence of armed militias affiliated with political groups and low levels of voter understanding of the new electoral system.

KHRC executive officer Atsango Chesoni has called on the police and IEBC to ensure peaceful elections by addressing underlying concerns and preparing the public through widespread education.

"We ask the inspector general of police to move with speed and ensure the safety of all Kenyans, especially women candidates and voters, during the electioneering period," she said.

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