The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: 22,000 Police Officers Deployed for Rift Polls

Preparations for today's polls in the Central Rift entered its last stage yesterday morning.Election officials were at the weekend busy dispatching various materials and personnel to polling centres in the region.

Squads of anti-riot and regular police officers patrolled the streets and estates of major towns in the region.Rift Valley police boss Levy Mwandi said more than 22,000 police officers have been deployed across the province in readiness for the elections.

Officers from the anti riot, GSU and rapid deployment police were sent to areas considered hot spots, including Bomet, Sotik, and the North Rift.

Security was beefed-up in areas plagued by rampant cases of cattle rustling and inter tribal clashes in recent months."Campaigns in the region have been peaceful and we hope this will continue. We are however playing it safe and we have deployed police officers in hot spot areas in case of anything during and after the voting," Mwandi said.

Meanwhile, 1,056 biometric voter registration kits were distributed to 2,946 polling stations in the four counties of Central Rift.Election officers from Nakuru, Laikipia, Baringo and Samburu had by early yesterday received the kits and ballot papers for their constituencies.

IEBC Central Rift coordinator Ali Ibrahim said the materials would be accorded tight security in all of the regions 23 constituencies.Ibrahim said the commission has trained security officers who will be involved with the voting.

A delegation of election observers from the US, the European Union and African Union are on the ground.The observers have toured various polling stations and tallying centres in the region.

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