Kenya: 180,000 security officers on guard for elections

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Kenya’s national police has ordered 180,000 security officers to man Tuesday’s presidential elections, as fears over potential violence mount.

The East African country has around 100,000 police officers but the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has requested significantly more personnel to be available for next week’s election – almost twice the number deployed during the 2013 general election.

 

Kenya gears up for election

Aside from the police officers assigned to man the polls, additional security officers from the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the National Youth Service (NYS), prisons, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Kenya Forestry Service (KFS).

More than 4,000 vehicles, 10 helicopters and 40 boats will be used in security operations as Kenya works to maintain peace during and after the poll.

The country’s 2013 election was relatively peaceful but the memory of previous violence is still strong. Politics in Kenya is split across various ethnic divides and tension in on the rise ahead of the August 8 vote.

 

Tensions ahead of vote

More than 1,000 people died and 600,000 evicted from their homes during Kenya’s 2007 presidential elections. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto both faced charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over accusations of orchestrating violence. The charges were dropped by the ICC amid claims that witnesses were intimidated and bribed.

The unanswered questions from Kenya’s 2007 violence are attributed with ongoing tension in the country.

There are fears that anger over Kenya recent political history could fuel further violence next week. Many Kenyans have reportedly fled the capital Nairobi ahead of Tuesday’s vote, fearing widespread violence could mar the election.

Authorities in Kenya insist they’re doing everything to ensure peace during the vote.

 

Featured image: By Nairobi123 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34806681

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.