Metito: We will deal with hate-mongers
By - | January 27th 2013
By Jacob Ng’etich
Internal Security Minister Katoo ole Metito is a man on the hot seat, as the country gears up for the first election under the new Constitution.
Only a week ago, a group of demonstrators in Mombasa sought his resignation, accusing him of laxity in handling security issues in Tana Delta.
The Standard on Sunday’s Jacob Ng’etich interviewed him on various security concerns, as the country heads to the historic March 4 General Election.
QUESTION: What is happening in Tana River? A few months after you sent security officers to the region, killings continue in the villages.
ANSWER: The situation in Tana River is going into normalcy. Security officers have done a good job by restoring peace. Most importantly, we have brought together community leaders from the region to dialogue and at a recent meeting in my office; they pledged to support the disarmament drive.
Elders from Pokomo and Orma have acknowledged there is need for peace and they agreed to hold joint peace meetings.
I also had a meeting with 80 youths from the region and they pledged to maintain peace. We will work closely with them to ensure stability. In the meeting, we also agreed on a two-week amnesty.
The public demonstrating in Mombasa recently called for you resignation following the latest killings Tana Delta. Are you considering quitting?
I have personally taken a lot of interest in Tana and recently, I hosted elders to see to it that peace is restored. The demonstrators had their right to demonstrate, but I will remain focused in ensuring that all Kenyans enjoy peace and security.
How about the situation in the Coast where the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) had threatened to interrupt the General Election?
The situation at the Coast pertaining to the fears of MRC should no longer be held.
The region is peaceful, thanks to interventions and dialogue by local leaders. MRC leaders have since agreed to drop their secession demands.
We are planning to have a peace caravan moving round the Coast region from Kwale and Tana Delta, passing through Mombasa and Kilifi.
Parties have presented their list of nominees to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Election, including names of their presidential aspirants. What security plans do you have for candidates given that the Constitution says death of a presidential candidate or deputy will stop the elections?
We are aware of the provision that a presidential election shall be cancelled and a new election held if a candidate for election as president or deputy president dies on or before the scheduled election date. Beginning next week, we will accord them security.
We will not segregate or give special treatment to any presidential candidate.
We will make sure that each gets adequate security. Already some have security given their position like Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, and the Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi.
We will, however, ensure that the rest are given 24-hour security. I will not, for obvious reasons, tell you how many personnel each will be entitled to. Ideally, the special security we will provide them should begin on January 29 once they present their papers to IEBC.
From your intelligence, are there militias coming up during the election?
So far, we are doing well as a country because Kenyans seem determined to maintain peace. Apart from the Tana River crisis, the rest of the country is calm and we have not heard any group planning to disrupt the polls.
Can you assure Kenyans they will have a peaceful General Election on March 4?
Absolutely, there will be enough security in place before, during, and after the election. We are gathering intelligence at the moment to ensure any plans for violence can be pre-empted early enough. As a Government, we have learnt from the shortfalls of the previous election that saw more than 1,000 people dead.
We have just concluded the party nominations, which was largely peaceful except in a few isolated cases.
During the primaries, Kenyans can attest there was a strong presence of security personnel. We deployed more than 60,000 officers to man the process. The success in the nomination is a precursor of how things will be.
By and large, Kenyans should know that peace begins with an individual and therefore everyone of us should be our brother’s keeper. We should learn to disagree without fighting.
Have you identified any hot spots across the country and do you have enough security personnel to take charge?
The police are currently working with the intelligence service to map out hotspots based on the previous intelligence reports; election and the just concluded party primaries.
We shall then deploy enough security in such areas.
In this election, how will you handle those perpetrating hate messages verbally and on social media?
We will not tolerate any politician or anybody who incites voters. Regardless of who they are, we will deal with them. For those using social media to incite, we warn them that their days are numbered. We will pick them from the comfort of the homes.
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