Kenya: Slums on the Radar as Govt Fine Tunes Election Security Plan

Nairobi — The government is paying special attention to slums and other areas vulnerable to political violence ahead of the August polls.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said security agencies are continuously monitoring the situation in places prone to lawlessness and crime during the election season.

Speaking Thursday during a meeting with the members of the Rotary club in Nairobi, Matiang’i revealed that a security monitoring and rapid response strategy specifically designed for informal settlements in Nairobi and other major towns was already in place.

Matiang’i was responding to concerns raised by members of the Rotary Club over alleged extrajudicial killings and ethnic flare ups in informal settlements.

“Extrajudicial killing is a policy that has been adopted by some countries, but it is not part of our policing philosophy. We are strictly bound by the law to arrest a suspect and arraign them before a competent court of law. No one needs to worry about informal settlements, ” stated.

The interior CS said the country’s policing capacities had grown to ten times better than it was a decade ago in tandem with reforms to align the sector with the citizen’s needs.

The CS added that a hotspots policing strategy based on a heat map showing insecurity prone areas is also undergoing progressive reviews.

“We want to keep on improving. So far, there is nothing that can warrant the raising of the level of alert in the country. We have a functional early warning system that begins at the community level and a robust information sharing structure, and wananchi themselves have been key cogs in this framework,” he said

The CS further noted that security agencies have been resourced with among other utilities, 2,700 vehicles recently procured to enhance the operational and logistical capacity of national government administrators across the country.

“We have built strong inter-agency collaboration and reduced the ratio of police to civilians from 1 to 900 down to 1 to 600. We also have very strong international partners who are working with us on security management.”

Matiang’i said the ongoing security operations and economic responses have reduced the cattle rustling menace by almost 75 percent.

He urged for more cooperation from elected leaders in enlightening and empowering the youth to discourage them from retrogressive practices.

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