NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6 – The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) says it has dispatched 250 monitors across the country to scrutinize police conduct during Tuesday’s general election.
In a statement, the authority stated that it will be partnering with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya) and other organizations.
“All IPOA monitors will be easily identified by IPOA staff badges, IEBC observer badges and their branded attire,” the organization said in a statement.
“Members of the public are encouraged to report to IPOA any case of misconduct or commendations of the police during the election period through toll free number 1559.”
The frontrunners for Kenya’s presidential election were set to make their final push for votes Saturday, capping months of frenetic campaigning ahead of the August 9 polls.
Deputy President William Ruto and Raila Odinga, a veteran opposition leader now backed by the ruling party, are fighting for the chance to lead the East African powerhouse as it grapples with a cost-of-living crisis.
Previous polls have been marred by violence and continue to cast a dark shadow over the country, where 22.1 million voters will now choose the next president as well as senators, governors, lawmakers, woman representatives and some 1,500 county officials.
The battle for votes has been dominated by mudslinging, tit-for-tat claims of rigging and a freebie bonanza for supporters, who have been showered with umbrellas, groceries and cash for attending rallies.
After criss-crossing the vast country in recent months, the leading candidates will stage their final campaigns in the capital Nairobi, with 55-year-old Ruto speaking at the 30,000-seat Nyayo National Stadium and Odinga, 77, addressing a rally at Kasarani Stadium, which seats 60,000.
The bitterly fought race has sparked speculation Kenya may see its first presidential run-off, with many worried that a challenge to the result could lead to street violence.
The two candidates had initially announced plans to speak at the Nyayo venue on Saturday, fuelling fears of a pre-election day showdown.