NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 — The Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government has denied the existence of a voter suppression campaign targeting UDA strongholds.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi told reporters in Nairobi on Friday that no decision had been made to suppress voter turnout in Rift Valley region and denied holding secret meetings with administration officials to coordinate disruptions on Election Day.
“There is no policy or intention to engage in any voter suppression campaigns,” the CS asserted in the company of security chiefs including Inspector General Hilary Mutyambai and Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.
He was responding to a statement by Deputy President William Ruto who named four senior security officials on Thursday and accused them of being part of a plan to sabotage Tuesday’s General Election.
The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate named Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohammed, as well as County Commissioners Samson Ojwang (Trans Nzoia), Steven Kihara (Uasin Gishu) and Erastus Mbui (Nakuru).
Matiangi termed the move by DP Ruto to blame government officials over alleged plot to rig polls as unfortunate saying it exposes them to danger.
“As a senior leader in the country, His Excellency the Deputy President’s pronouncements have the capacity to exert influence on his supporters and their relationships with government officers.”
“Personalized attacks that cast aspersions on public officers who have no opportunity to defend their honour against their seniors injures reputations potentially and exposes the victims and their families to harm,” he said.
The Interior CS pointed out that those contesting for high political office in the country are obligated to address others, including their subordinates, with what he described as appropriate decorum.
Matiangi described the claims that the chiefs and assistant chiefs are buying or withholding IDs to suppress voter turnout in United Democratic Alliance strongholds as ridiculous.
“If true, it would constitute a criminal and electoral offence. There is however no official record made or proof offered by the DP or his associates in support of deterrence and deserved punishment for anyone engaging in the alleged act(s).”
“Like everyone else, the DP has an obligation to report on potential crime,” he said.
He went forward to say that there is no record of the Kenya Kwanza Presidential candidate voicing his claims at the National Security Council where DP Ruto is a member or any other official security platform.
“His Excellency the Deputy President is a member of the National Security Council (NSC) that is vested with the overall policy and decision-making powers on national security. He therefore enjoys access to a privileged and influential platform to express himself and to canvass his concerns,” Matiangi said.
He reiterated that government is committed to support the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct and deliver free and fair elections.
Matiangi clarified that the National Government Administrative Officers have been mobilized to support the election exercise in general and not for any candidate or political formation as alleged.
“Where meetings are held pursuant to this agenda, they are done in public venues and in daytime and the media invited for briefings,” he said.
Th Interior CS called on the administrators to perform their duties without any fear or favor and called on them not to be discouraged by the frequent attacks directed at them.