Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has affirmed that the government will deal firmly with the cattle rustling menace in the North Rift region, saying that the problem isn’t a cultural problem but a crime. Speaking at the the AP’s handover at the National Police College in Nairobi on Friday, Matiang’i said the problem has been around for so long and termed it primitive, “We have agreed that we are not going to operate as if it’s business as usual, we have lived with this menace for a long time. It’s not right to pretend cattle rustling is a cultural activity, it’s a crime, period…some of them are supported by well resourced middle-class people,” he said.
He justified the government’s decision to disarm National Police Reservists (NPRs), saying civilians shouldn’t handle guns with the purpose of trying to protect themselves, “It is our responsibility to provide security and ensure the safety of the people of Kenya,” said the CS. He revealed that the government will deploy more security officers in the North Rift to tame the perennial vice, “We are going to adopt a very ruthless approach to this thing to sort it out once and for all.”
Speaking on the pursuit of those with illegal firearms, the Interior CS said he is happy with the arrests made so far and that anyone who owns an illegal firearm shouldn’t be spared. This comes after the window for the surrender of illegal firearms closed. Police IG Hillary Mutyambai had outlined that 4,293 gun holders didn’t honour the open window to surrender their firearms after they had initially missed the vetting process. “Regardless of your status in society, if you are not licensed to hold a firearm, you should not hold one..let’s treat everyone equally in this case,” said CS Matiang’i. He said those with illegal firearms should surrender them or else when found by police officers, they’ll be treated as an armed and dangerous criminal.