Aspirants in North Rift want the government to secure polling stations along the troubled borders of West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, and Baringo counties ahead of the August 9 general election.
Political candidates gunning for various parliamentary seats in the region claimed that the majority of displaced families from the affected border are yet to return to their homes due to fear of fresh attacks.
Speaking in Eldoret Wednesday, Pokot South UDA parliamentary candidate, Simon Kalekem expressed fear that the majority of eligible voters might not exercise their democratic rights to elect leaders of their choice during the elections due to frequent banditry and cattle rustling attacks.
“It is unfortunate to note that armed bandits have turned the Kerio Valley zone into their turf, we appeal to the government to find a lasting solution to the decade-long insecurity problem,” said Kalekem.
Lawrence Mutwo, an independent candidate, who is vying against two-term MP Bowen Kangogo for Marakwet East parliamentary seat echoed Kalekem’s sentiments saying that hundreds of voters residing at the border of the two counties should be guaranteed security to enable them take part in the upcoming election.
Two weeks ago, the government imposed a 30-day dawn to dusk curfew in Kerio Valley to tame run-away insecurity.
The government’s move followed a heinous incident where three pupils of Tot Primary School in Marakwet East constituency were shot dead and six other people injured in the volatile Kerio Valley.
However, Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, while addressing the media in Eldoret on Tuesday, assured the residents of Kerio Valley that all measures have been put in place to ensure peace prevails in the volatile region during and after the August election.
“There is no cause for alarm in Kerio valley over looming insecurity since all public primary and secondary schools have resumed normal learning programmes after the government restored law and order last month,” assured Oguna.
Col Oguna observed that the security situation in the volatile cattle rustling-prone Kerio Valley region has significantly improved since the government intervention.
“There is a big difference in the Kerio Valley after the dawn to dusk operational measures were instituted unlike before, and we should appreciate what our security agencies are implementing on the ground to restore peace, not just for now, but even in the future,” Oguna said.
A week ago, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner (RC) Maalim Mohammed announced that more than 100 people had been arrested and 30 illegal firearms recovered in connection with the anti-banditry operation in Kerio Valley.
Security teams, he said, recovered guns, including combat rifles, pistols, ammunition, and camouflage gear during the operation in the villages in Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, and West Pokot counties.