Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong has faulted the government over its plans to disarm locals in possession of illegal firearms in the North Rift region .
This comes a few days after Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya said the government will mop up illegal firerams in Baringo,Elgeyo Marakwet ,,Samburu ,Turkana and West Pokot Counties. He said the operation will begin this month.
Lochakapong said a dialogue should be held before the operation and called on the government to conduct civic education, sensitize locals and involve leaders in the region first. “We heard the Regional commissioner say that they want to use force to disarm locals. Peace has been realized along the Pokot, Turkana, and Marakwet borders, and not as a result of force,” said Lochakapong.
He opposed the move, and urged the government to affirm the residents’ security before they are disarmed.
Speaking in his constituency on Friday, he criticized the government’s way of issuing ultimatums on warring pastoralist communities saying forceful disarmament fronted by the Interior Cabinet Secretary is ill advised and dictatorial since all the communities experiencing frequent attacks and cattle rustling had held meetings and signed a peace deal in the recent past.
He termed the forceful orders to mob up illegal guns as unconstitutional and that they had agreed to convince locals from respective communities to surrender the fire arms.
He said the government should involve elders from the three communities in dialogue before embarking on the disarmament exercise. “There is the need for dialogue so that locals can be persuaded to give out guns voluntarily,” he said.
He cited the Ugandan government’s way of handling cattle rustling in the recent years, which has been more peaceful, without forceful disarmament and has led to a peaceful co-existence.
The Sigor MP blamed the government for failing to maintain security in the area especially along the border of West Pokot ,Elgeyo Marakwet and Turkana counties.
On her part, West Pokot County woman representative Lilian Tomitom called on the government to beef up security in clashes prone areas. “We are surprised at the rate which people are being killed especially in Turkwel Chesegon and Ombolion areas,” she said.