Lamu,KENYA:The IEBC has assured residents in terror prone areas and those in IDP camps that the commission has made elaborate plans to enable them participate and vote in the forthcoming general elections.
Currently ,the entire Basuba ward in Lamu East and Pandanguo area which is inhabited by the Boni minority community is under a 90 day dusk to dawn curfew imposed recently by acting Interior CS Fred Matiang’I due to insecurity and locals expressed worry that the situation might lock them out of the forthcoming general elections.
With only 13 days left to the general elections, locals had felt the curfew might hinder them from effectively participating in the voting exercise.
The Boni community has on many occasions missed out on crucial services including immunizations due to the state of security caused by Alshabaab militants in their areas.
The IEBC has however assured all those affected or displaced by insecurity that plans are on to ensure they also get to cast their safely and peacefully on August 8.
Residents who fled to IDP camps in various parts of Lamu East due to insecurity had expressed worry that they might not be able to cast their vote since they are far from their registered polling centers and had even asked the IEBC to consider setting up mini polling centres at the camps to enable them take part in the life changing exercise.
Speaking in his Lamu office on Wednesday,Lamu County Elections Manager Mohamed Adan said assured all Lamu residents that plans were set to ensure everyone takes part in the forthcoming elections.
Adan said his office had made elaborate arrangements with the security office and that all election staff posted to terror prone areas like Basuba will be airlifted to and from polling centres in the areas with choppers in order to enable the residents vote.
He said the IEBC is also carrying out mapping of the areas affected by insecurity and those in IDP camps in order to have proper mitigations in place.
He said the IEBC was currently meeting with residents in all insecurity areas and those in camps in order to chart up suitable solutions are availed.
“I understand we have people who are worried that they might not be able to vote but we want to assure every single registered voter in Lamu that they will cast their vote no matter where they are and no matter the security situation.We have made adequate plans to ensure those in camps and those in Basuba and other areas considered terror prone vote.We will have all our election staff flown by choppers to and from these areas.All these are part of the plans made to ensure no one is left out on August 8,”said Adan.
He said IEBC officials were currently engaging IDPs in camps in order top ascertain where each one has been registered after which plans will be made to either have them flown to the polling centres.
He said IDPs whose polling centres are closer to the camps will be given adequate police escort on the material day and also ensure they come back to the camps safely after casting their vote.
He said the IEBC was also considering the possibility of setting up polling stations closer to all the IDP camps to enable all those at the camps to cast their vote.
“Unfortunately the IEBC has already gazette all polling stations.However not to worry,we want to first of all establish where each of those at the camps was registered and how far that is from the camps.We might have some flown to vote and others given enough security to polling centres and back.We are also considering setting up polling centres close to the camps,”said Adan.
Over 2000 residents are now putting up at camps at Kastaka Kairu and those at the Witu AIC and Catholic churches after the government asked them to vacate their homes and pave way for an operation to hunt down Alshabaab.