The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has unveiled a team of 105 prosecutors charged with the duty of prosecuting those found culpable of election offences and hate speech as the country gears up for the presidential pools.
Tobiko said the team will be deployed across the country after a two training at the Kenya School of Government at Lower Kabete in Nairobi on Odpp’s role in upholding electoral justice.
“On our part as the Odpp, we wish to reaffirm our commitment to effectively, expeditiously and without fear or favour, prosecute all election and related offences including hate speech, acts of violence and electoral fraud.” Tobiko said during the third annual national prosecution convention.
The team is dubbed ‘Rapid Response Election and Related Offences Team’ will take up cases on real time basis in coordination with line agencies notably the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Iebc) chairman Wafula Chebukati applauded the rapid response team saying the electoral process should not be left only to the commission.
He, however asked the team to start investigating public officers using state assets and resources in campaign and did not declare to the Iebc.
However, both Tobiko and Chebukati challenged the political leadership to adhere to the stipulated electoral guidelines and respect directions of independent institutions.
“The political leadership of our country, by virtue of their high positions in our society must lead by example. They must be measured and responsible in their public utterances and shun violence. They must respect constitutional offices and organs.” Tobiko added.
Iebc has come under sharp criticism by the opposition National Super Alliance over disputed Sh2.5billion ballot printing tender awarded to a Dubai based Al Ghurair firm which they have objected as being partisan.
“We as Iebc are determined not to go where we came from in 2007. We are ready and prepared for the general elections.” Chebukati affirmed.
On his part, United States Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec raised fears of possible election related violence 45 days to the polls but challenged the institutions responsible to ensure sanity prevails in the country.
“There is fear of electoral related violence. This team will have the responsibility to ensure country’s peace is held.” Godec observed.
He said US is committed with Kenyan government in enhancing government ability to ensure security and criminal justice system.
“Where the law ends, tyranny begins. None should be above the law. In this election you face, it can further consolidate democracy but you have to ensure elections are fair and outcome is just. No Kenyan or any person should die because of this election. Neutrality is essential to law enforcement agencies. This is Kenyan elections only can decide are successful, free and fair. US supports democratic process,” says Godec.
President of the Law Society of Kenya Isaac Okero and Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi expressed their support to ensure the country remains united through adequate support in the criminal justice system.
Amadi observed the ODPP advisory board has seen recruitment of over 824 staff and promotion of over 200 legal and non-legal staff of the Odpp.
“For electoral justice to be upheld, we all have a responsibility. As the Judiciary we are committed to deliver any dispute. We have team dedicated to that in court stations,” said Amadi.
Ugandan DPP Mike Chibita and Rwandese Prosecutor General Bosco Mutangana urged Kenyans to hold violent free elections.
However, Mutangana appealed to the Kenyan government to honour our request to extradite suspects of the 1994 Rwandan genocide believed to be hiding in this country.
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