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Kibicho: No need for panic-buying ahead of polls

Interior Principal Secretary Dr Karanja Kibicho has discouraged panic-buying of goods and relocations ahead of Tuesday’s General Election amid fears of election-related violence.

Speaking during a joint interview with several local FM stations, Kibicho said there is no cause for alarm, adding that adequate security personnel have been deployed across the country to maintain law and order before, during, and after the polls.

With only three days to the polls, a section of Kenyans have expressed fears of election-related violence as candidates contesting for different positions battle it out.

But the PS has urged Kenyans to ignore scaremongering that is encouraging panic-buying of essential commodities since the government had put in place strategies to ensure peace and freedom of movement of people and goods throughout the electioneering period.

“There was no cause for fears that chaos will erupt before, during and after the elections as adequate security has been deployed across the country with a special attention to traditional and emerging hotspots,” Kibicho said.

This comes after Deputy President William President On Thursday issued a litany of strong demands that he wants addressed before the polls. Among these demands is the arrest and prosecution of people whom he claims are planning to disrupt the elections.

“We can’t sit pretty and watch the same things that happened in Kenya to happen again. These are people, having realized they can’t win the election, who are planning to disrupt the election. We are asking the president to stop these people from causing conflict among Kenyans,” the DP said while addressing the media at his Karen residences.

While on Friday, nine students of Moi University, who were arrested and charged in connection with circulation of hate leaflets in a WhatsApp group, were released on Sh1 million bond with a surety of the same amount or an alternative cash bail of Sh500,000 each. They were accused of spreading false information to create fear ahead of Tuesday’s elections.

A week ago, police dismissed claims that some communities had begun fleeing the county because of fears about possible clashes during and after the elections.

On Tuesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said additional security personnel will be deployed in parts of Rift Valley as part of election readiness measures. Matiangi said that the government will also deploy more resources, including vehicles, to allow easier movement of security agencies while maintaining law and order.

“We are going to deploy additional aerial resources to enable our police teams move around this region effectively and to be able to fly places to areas where there are challenges and if any challenges arises,” he said.

The government has since announced that it will deploy a total of 150,000 officers across the country to maintain law and order during the polls.

Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai told journalists on July 22, that the security personnel which will include special police officers drawn from partner security agencies — Kenya Prisons Service, National Youth Service, Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service — will provide a safe environment for all Kenyans to cast their votes and ensure citizens conduct their activities without fear of crime or harm.

Mutyambai said that the Police Service has also established a National Election Security Command Centre which is manned on 24-hour basis and equipped to handle all situational analysis related to election security.

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