The Government has assured foreign diplomats in Kenya that there is enough security ahead of the August polls.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery met the diplomats at a city hotel Tuesday to assure them of stability.
This came two days after the killing of a rancher in Laikipia County and ongoing violence in parts of Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.
“Kenya has been fairly peaceful save for recent incidents of animosity between communities in some parts of the country as a result of heightened drought leading to conflict over resources,” said Nkaissery.
He said this has to some extent affected the gains on peace, secure and stable environment that the Government had created but they have put in place measures necessary to handle any level of threat to security.
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Nkaissery said government will scale up reforms to ensure that various institutions offer effective and efficient services to the population.
During the electioneering period, the Government will use constitutional machinery to facilitate free and fair elections and ensure that peace and security prevails before, during and after the polls, he said.
Nkaissery said on ethnic/inter-communal conflicts, “let me reiterate that the country is generally calm except two counties- Baringo and Laikipia which are experiencing, heightened communal conflicts.”
“It is important to mention that the traditional approach of sharing water and pastures between the ranchers and the pastoralists was not adhered too this time round triggering conflict.”
He said more police officers have been deployed and operations to flush out the illegal grazers are ongoing.
Further, disarmament operations and voluntary surrender of illegal firearms have been intensified to mop up illegal guns.
“In this regard, the government carried out destruction exercise where 5,260 arms and over 200,000 ordnance collected all over the country were burnt,” said the CS.
Nkaissery said the government has issued a moratorium against new leases particularly on expired land leases to ensure continuance and curtail scramble for land and that 66,500 livestock from private ranches in Laikipia County.
He told the diplomats some 379 persons have been arrested and prosecuted during the ongoing operation.
He added that in collaboration with other stakeholders— including UN bodies and development partners they have conducted a national conflict and electoral risk assessment in all the counties and mapped out hot spots that require special attention.
The CS argued they strengthened the capacity of constitutional bodies mandated to manage the elections such as IEBC and proscribed criminal gangs and continue monitoring the situation so as to prosecute those who defy the order.
He added the government has taken elaborate measures to counter terrorism and violent extremism, which include dismantling of terrorists operational capabilities and increased focus on preventing and reducing the motivations underlying recruitment into violent extremism.
Sustained Multi-Agency Operation Linda Boni along Kenya-Somali border neutralizing militias groups in Boni Forest, Mandera and other areas has also borne fruits.
Nkaissery said offering amnesty on returnees from Somalia and those already radicalised has helped in addressing terrorism.
He said Kenya has adopted a multi-agency approach to address challenges facing the aviation sector in the country, which saw JKIA granted ‘Category 1’ status following an assessment audit by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of USA.
On drug trafficking and substance abuse, the target is the youth segment of the population and there has been enhanced maritime surveillance and patrols as well as leveraging of technology, which have realised remarkable seizures at points of entry.
“There is continued strengthening information sharing among the various law enforcement agencies and improved international linkages to deter the menace and we have extradited four suspected drug barons to the US to face criminal charges while several others are facing charges in the country.”
He argued the adoption of Multi-Agency Approach to security has resulted into Multi-Sectoral Reforms in the Government to enhance security and safety in the country. ?
He cited the Access to Information Act, The Private Security Regulation Act, and the Bribery Act, 2016.
He said police reforms are ongoing and Kenya has increased and modernised the fleet of vehicles and equipment to enhance police operations, increase visibility and reduce response time. ?
Nkaissery said in improving police welfare, 212 housing units have been completed, 522 housing units leased, while another 1,200 units are under construction.
He said some 4,859 inmates have been placed under vocational training a programme and 8,026 in formal education.
“Further, the Government upgraded communication networks in prisons and installed mobile phone jammers in order to address the rampant phone based fraud.
He added violent extremism offenders have been segregated into separate blocks to avoid radicalisation and contamination of other inmates.