Kenya: 180,000 security officers on guard for elections
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