Agency maps violence hotspots ahead of August 9 elections

A man is roughed up by men in black outside Rurii youth Polytechnic Polling Station in Nyandarua county during the Rurii ward by-election on May 18, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has mapped five locations that might witness electoral violence before, during and after the August 9 polls.

The agency has cited Sondu along the Kericho-Kisumu border, Londiani in Kipkelion East constituency, Fortenan (Kipkelion West), Nyagacho informal settlement in Kericho town, Chebawon in Bureti sub-county and Kasoit ward in Ainamoi sub-county.

Speaking at Sondu trading centre, the commissioner in charge of South Rift and Nyanza Regions Sam Kona said to map the location, they considered factors such as the existence of criminal gangs, multiple ethnic groups and grievances among the local communities. Governor Paul Chepkwony, Kericho Catholic Diocese Bishop Alfred Rotich and Soin/Sigowet parliamentary aspirant Naaman Rop called for peaceful coexistence among communities living in Kericho County.

“In the last two elections, Kericho did not witness election violence. We don’t want the August elections to be the one which will roll back the peaceful coexistence as well as economic gains the county has made in the past few years,” said Prof Chepkwony.

The governor, who is serving his last term in office, called on all political aspirants, especially those seeking to succeed him, to maintain his peace legacy.

Bishop Rotich, on the other hand, asked political aspirants and the electorate to reflect on what it means for the county to have an enabling environment for local communities to live in peace, integrity and coexistence.

“It’s the church’s duty to open its doors for civic education. We all have to sit down together and build a conducive environment for peace,” he said.

Bishop Rotich added: “We are pleading with politicians, as well as the electorate, to create space for political tolerance and in the coming days change the combative politics. The country deserves non-violent elections.”