Police target Bogi Mawe gang in Kitale as security beefed up before polls

Trans Nzoia County Commissioner Samson Ojwang (in jungle uniform) with Trans Nzoia County Police Commander Jecinta Wesonga (in blue uniform) and other security and administrative officers after a security meeting on Monday at Kitale National Museum. Mr Ojwang assured residents of their safety during and after the August 9 General Election.

Photo credit: Gerald Bwisa

Trans Nzoia County Commissioner Samson Ojwang has assured residents that they would be safe during and after the August 9 General Election.

Mr Ojwang spoke as he announced the start of an operation to rid Kitale and its environs of the dreaded Bogi Mawe gang that has been terrorising residents.

“Security agencies will from now henceforth begin a sting operation to root out the criminal gang Bogi Mawe harassing residents in Kitale,” he said. 

“Elections come and go, and as government we will not allow criminals under the pretext of campaigns to harass citizens in any form or manner.”

Politicians warned

He warned politicians intimidating and threatening to expel members of some communities in the region who do not toe their political line against doing so.

He added that harsh penalties would be imposed on people caught instigating violence between communities in the cosmopolitan county. 

"We have received intelligence reports of some people planning to acquire arms from a neighbouring country either for defensive or offensive purposes, which is unlawful," he said.

Tuwani, Matisi, Kipsongo and Namanjala as some of the areas hit hard by incidents of violence caused by politicians.

Mr Ojwang said the county security and intelligence committee had put in place measures to ensure voting, counting and tallying are conducted peacefully.

"Our mandate as security officers is to deliver a peaceful election for the sake of a free and fair process. We want to have a peaceful environment where each and every one will be able to go to voting centres to cast their votes," he said. 

Order to administrators

He ordered local administrators to beef up vigilance in their areas of jurisdiction and instructed chiefs and their assistants to hold sensitisation barazas on the need to maintain law, order and peace during and after the elections.

He reminded national government administrative officers of their key security mandate during elections.

“Each one of us has a duty and responsibility to ensure their areas of jurisdiction are firmly secured before and after the polling day,” he said at an election preparedness meeting at Kitale National Museum on Monday. 

Dangerous weapons

Besides the problem of ethnic profiling by some candidates, Mr Ojwang asked local administrators and security agents to ensure no candidates or their supporters ferry dangerous weapons like pangas, knives and clubs to political rallies.

“It is time we also monitored what the politicians are carrying to ensure none drives around with their campaign vehicles loaded with dangerous weapons and arms,” he stated.

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