Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have nabbed a man from Ngong asking members of the public with guns to send him money so that he can help them renew their private firearm licenses.
“Following numerous complaints from civilian firearm holders that they were receiving calls from an individual claiming to be the Chief Firearms Licencing officer instructing them to send money for renewal of their certificates and that they should not proceed to the Licencing office due to the CoronaVirus pandemic, DCI detectives based at the headquarters launched investigations where they managed to arrest the suspect by the name Anthony Maina Mwangi in Ngong area”, the DCI wrote.
Following numerous complaints from civilian firearm holders that they were receiving calls from an individual claiming to be the Chief Firearms Licencing officer instructing them to send money for renewal of their certificates and that they should not proceed to the…
— DCI KENYA (@DCI_Kenya) April 1, 2020
In 2019, the Interior Ministry had asked all Licensed gun holders to renew their permits or return the guns.
By March 27th, 2019, the exercise which had kicked off in February 2019 had nabbed over 340 guns without licenses.
Some owners returned high calibre firearms, leading to the cancellation of licenses.
In March alone, @DCI_Kenya Detectives recovered several firearms & assorted ammunitions from members of the public.Detectives are working tirelessly to remove weapons from the street & apprehend those intent on committing acts of violence. Please report to us any #IlegalFirearms. pic.twitter.com/D5gUU1kUe1
— DCI KENYA (@DCI_Kenya) April 1, 2019
The real figures from the exercise which was supposed to have ended in 2019 have not been released.
Over the years, police either by chance or acting on a tip-off have arrested criminals and recovered guns and ammunitions. Sometimes the government has conducted disarmament exercises in the Northern regions and areas prone to banditry.
All this has bore no fruit as the number of guns in private hands has continued to increase, moreso after the Post-Election Violence in 2007/2008.
A survey conducted by the small arms survey, between 2014 and 2016 puts Kenya’s illegal arms cache of arms in private hands at over 750,000 guns.
The study also notes that, ‘as other countries in East Africa have been reducing their number of guns in private hands, Kenya’s increased’.
Bungoma and Uasin Gishu counties are the fastest growing in terms acquisition of illegal guns.
Bungoma’s Mount Elgon region is particularly problematic. A few years ago, the Sabaot Land Defence Forces (SLDF) terrorised residents in this place.
This points to the fact that disarmament exercises have failed in this parts.
Why the increase in guns?
The post election violence of 2007/2008 is solely to blame.
The small arms survey says, ‘the violence around the December 2007 elections left its mark on the population: most household respondents said they feel the most insecure during election periods’.
Corruption in the police force doesn’t help either. Guns pass through unmanned borders especially in North and north eastern regions.
How those guns find their way to Nairobi is anyone’s guess.
Despite the best efforts of the National Steering Committee on Peacebuilding Conflict Management (NSC) to conduct programmes geared towards Peacebuilding and community security. It seems most often that politicians are the culprit.
Politicians incite people to violence.
Politicians fund youths to cause violence
As we approach the 2022 general elections. Temperatures are beginning to heat up.
Recently, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi made utterances that are in bad taste against the spirit of cohesion and togetherness. MP Sudi should be in jail.
‘Luos we can beat them in war easily’, he said.
During elections, people have always blamed politicians for inciting violence. This is true.
In 2017, in some counties with the best early warning, early response systems, no politician wanted to be thought as a war monger. Those counties enjoyed peace (minor altercations reported).
In fact, the violence in 2017 elections was caused by the national police service (force would be a better name to describe them, they did not serve at all).
What can we do?
The authorities involved, i.e. IEBC, NCIC, EACC, the National Police, the judiciary should work in concert to reign in hate speech.
The number of guns in private hands are not for a fashion show. Kenyans are arming themselves.