Migori county security team has singled out and is closely monitoring ten gangs fanning political violence ahead of the August 9 general elections as tension has started rising between politicians.
County Commissioner Meru Mwangi said the gangs were identified after police officers started to gather intelligence as Migori has been listed among political violence hotspot counties by National Cohesion and Integration Commission.
There is fear in Migori county of violence sprawling out of control after teargas canisters were lobbed in three public functions recently, the home of governor aspirant Robert Okong’o’s parents sent ablaze by arsonists and fights erupting in funeral and functions.
“We already know them, who they are, and their leaders and financiers. We will monitor them, especially on financiers end and want to tell youths once arrested for causing chaos government will deal with them as criminals,” Mwangi said.
Mwangi said the county security team across Migori eight constituencies is keen to remove the county from a political hotspot tag,” Mwangi said.
Other measures in place are the use of security officers in plains clothes in functions to help nab culprits, ensuring police account for guns, bullets, and tear gas canisters they use in operations, and families organizing funerals to alert police over the fear of security breach beforehand.
“We will work with families organizing funerals which may be charged to alert us on time to offer protection,” Suna East police boss Esau Ochorokodi said.
The two said they will also monitor youths who are often hired to offer security to politicians in social functions.
Their sentiments were shared by NCIC commissioner Philip Okundi who said politicians should work hard at peacefully sharing their agenda and only let voters decide the outcome.
“As a country we are ti, red of always seeing the cycle of a violence in election time, we need to stop violence and the only way is engaging stakeholders and ensuring trigger points are dealt with on time,” Okundi said.
The two were speaking on Wednesday at a hotel in Migori town when USAID and International Alert organized a workshop on peace between security officers, party officials, aspirants, and political activists.
“In 2013 in Makerero ward an aspirant was murdered, in 2017 Kuria West constituency experienced two deaths over politics. Nothing was done, we need police to be vigilant to ensure culprits are brought to book,” Mogendi Saiya, Kuria West MP aspirant said.
Charles Odero, Wasweta an MCA aspirant said they were shocked that teargas canisters, which are only assigned to police officers were lobbed thrice and nothing was done saying they were afraid that that politicians may be arming gangs with illegal guns.
“Sometimes even attending funerals is hard over the fear of insecurity, some politicians have been forced to hire youth to shield them of rivals which might escalate ahead of next polls,” Odero said.
Eric Opany, Migori ODM youth leader said after politics voters and leaders will stay remain as a family and social bonds will still be there.