Govt paying close attention to areas prone to political violence, Matiang'i

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i addresses members of the Rotary club in Nairobi on Friday [File]

The government is paying close attention to areas that are prone to political violence ahead of the August polls, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i has said.

Matiang’i, who was addressing members of the Rotary club in Nairobi on Friday, said security agencies are monitoring areas susceptible to lawlessness and crime.

Specifically, the Cabinet Secretary said a security monitoring and rapid response strategy had been designed for informal settlements in Nairobi and other major towns.

“We want to keep on improving. So far, there is nothing that can warrant the raising of the level of alert in the country. We have a functional early warning system that begins at the community level and a robust inform," he said.

Further, Matiang’i noted the ministry was working with international partners on security management.

“We have reduced the ratio of police officers to civilians from 1 to 900 down to 1 to 600," he said.

Matiang'i's sentiments came days after the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) said six counties are likely to experience electoral violence.

According to NCIC's report, the counties are; Nairobi, Nakuru, Kericho, Kisumu, Uasin Gishu and Mombasa.

The vulnerabilities were classified into three categories of pre-existing conflict factors with an index of 53.58 per cent, potential triggers (53.4 per cent) and weak institutional capacities had an index score of 53.32 per cent.

Pre-existing conflict factors include informal settlements with a high population, inequality across ethnic communities, competition over scarce resources, the existence of organised criminal gangs, the proliferation of small arms, drug and substance abuse, and history of election violence among others.

On the other hand, Potential triggers of violence were identified in the report as levels of hate speech, contestation in party primaries, non-acceptance of election results, fake news, harassment of political party agents, results contrary to opinion polls and disruption of mainstream media.

Regarding weak institutional capacities, the study cited potential use of force by the police, low trust in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), low trust in the Judiciary, inadequate conflict resolution capacities, and lack of enactment of peace policies as some of the factors likely to predispose the country to electoral violence.

Additional reporting; Hudson Gumbihi