Police step up efforts to secure borders

The Tarime/Rorya Special Police Zone Commander, Andrew Satta

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A DAY after Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka pulled out of election re-run, Tanzanian police commanders are cooperating with their Kenyan counterparts in a bid to maintain peace along the borders.

The National Super Alliance (NASA)’s Odinga announced his withdrawal from election re-run on Tuesday saying, “We have come to the conclusion that there is no intention on the part of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to undertake any changes to its operations and personnel.”

The poll repeat is scheduled for October 26, this year, where Odinga was expected to face his competitor Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee party. The Tarime/Rorya Special Police Zone Commander, Andrew Satta, told the ‘Daily News’ that yesterday, they had a meeting with their counterparts from Kenya, part of their programme to meet twice a month for talks over security along the border.

The Commander said after NASA’s Odinga declared that he had withdrawn from the anticipated election repeat, some people got worried while others celebrated, but the situation at the border is stable.

“Following the announcement, there is no unusual movements at Sirari and Rorya borders. It is normal but we are closely patrolling the area,” he added. He told this paper that he was expecting to return to the mentioned borders yesterday evening to get feedback.

Arusha Regional Police Commander (RPC), Charles Mkumbo said Namanga border is peaceful and people are conducting their daily economic activities without disturbances.

However, he said police from the two countries are working to gether at Namanga and other areas bordering Kenya and Tanzania to maintain peace.

RPC Mkumbo said as an EAC member State, Tanzania cannot close the border, but in collaboration with Immigration Department, they will make sure regulations are adhered to.

Meanwhile, MPs in Kenya have approved the controversial Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that seeks to strip IEBC Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, of his role as the sole returning officer of the presidential election.

Jubilee MPs in the National Assembly unanimously approved the Bill that also opens the door for IEBC to use the manual system in transmitting election results for the repeat presidential election slated for October 26 in the event electronic systems fail.

The Bill also seeks to ensure that the IEBC transmits electronically and manually the tabulated results of the presidential election from a polling station to the constituency tallying centre and to the national tallying centre.

The MPs, however, deleted a section that would have restricted the winner of an annulled presidential election and the petitioner from contesting in a re-run. This now leaves the door open for any candidate who participated in the August 8 annulled presidential election to contest in the October 26 fresh election.

At the same time, police in Ke nya’s capital, Nairobi, have used tear gas to disperse thousands of opposition protestors holding peaceful demonstrations demanding reforms to the election commission, a day after opposition leader Odinga withdrew from this month’s new presidential vote.

Police dispersed protestors who gathered in a Nairobi park and tried to make their way to the election commission’s offices. Protestors regrouped at another park and walked to the offices, where dozens of anti-riot police were lined up.

Odinga’s legal challenge led to the Supreme Court nullifying the August election in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner. But Odinga withdrew from the new vote ordered by the court, saying that without reforms the vote risks having the same problems.

Yesterday’s protest was led by leaders of Odinga’s opposition NASA.

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