Government vows to crack down on hatemongers ahead of August polls

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) — Kenya’s security forces have been put on a standby mode to enhance arrest and prosecution of individuals engaging in hate speech during this election season, officials said on Wednesday.

Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, Joseph Nkaissery said the State will deal firmly with aspirants who incite communities to take up arms as campaign for the Aug. 8 general election gathers steam.

“The government is closely monitoring the ongoing campaigns to ensure violence is nipped in the bud. We will not spare inciters and war-mongers regardless of their political affiliation,” Nkaissery said.

He spoke at an international conference on peace, security and social enterprise that took place in Nairobi against a backdrop of rising political temperatures ahead of August polls in Kenya.

Nkaisserry said the government has put solid measures in place to ensure campaigns for elective posts are conducted peacefully.

“We have put security systems and structures in place to ensure the country, its citizens and property are safe before, during and after the elections,” said Nkaisserry.

He added the security agencies have mapped out and intensified vigilance in several hotpots to deter election related violence.

“With an impending general election, we are experiencing fissures in regions that are traditionally seen as non-violent but our security forces are on high alert to contain eruption of chaos during the campaign and voting period,” Nkaisserry told reporters.

Kenya and development partners have invested in peace building and national cohesion to prevent ethnic and sectarian polarization during this election season.

Nkaisserry said the state has mobilized political, corporate and community leaders to rally behind peaceful campaigns and other initiatives that advance harmonious co-existence.

“It is the responsibility of all Kenyans more so the political class to preach peace during this electioneering period. The government is committed to facilitate violence free campaigns and voting in order to strengthen our democratic institutions,” said Nkaisserry.

Kenyans go to the polls on August 8 to elect a president, lawmakers and ward representatives.

Pundits contend the hotly contested elections will test the strength of the East Africa Nations’ political, economic and social institutions.