President Uhuru Kenyatta has told those operating in the underworld, making homemade guns to instead join the government firearms factory.
He said the manufacturers of the illegal guns have skills that can be used at the newly opened factory in Ruiru, Kiambu County.
Uhuru made the remarks when he led security agencies in destruction of 5,144 illicit firearms recovered from wrong hands in 2020.
The event took place at the Traffic Police Training Centre in Ngong, Kajiado County.
Uhuru said there is no need for those behind the illegal guns to wait for police to arrest them and face the law, adding his offer was an amnesty to the gangs.
“This is to those making illegal guns, come we make legal money and jobs. Come forward and declare you can make a gun and you will get a job. Don’t wait for police to come for you,” he said.
Uhuru said those making the weapons in the underworld have the much needed skills for the factory.
He said the government opened a gun assembly factory which is now running well.
The Sh4 billion factory, with a single-shift annual production capacity of 12,000 assault rifles, is part of a broad multi-agency national security industries strategy.
The factory draws 60 per cent of its input from local sources.
The President said Kenya seeks to enhance her self-reliance in security through local production of equipment and technologies in line with the Big 4 Agenda and Vision 2030.
He pointed out that the arms factory, will lower the cost of acquiring weapons for Kenya’s security agencies and establish a sustainable national security industrial base that provides jobs for the Kenyan youth.
Most homemade guns have been blamed on many crimes committed in the country, including murder.
The president said Kenya is ready to face the challenges posed by small arms and light weapons.
“An illegal gun makes you unsafe and we must address the menace. We are ready and willing.”
The president said violent crimes have been on the decline in the past years due to various measures put in place to address them.
The guns that were destroyed are part of 14,000 illicit guns confiscated from the wrong hands in the last two years, according to interior CS Fred Matiang’i.
“In two years alone, we have collected close to 14,000 guns and over 400,000 bullets from wrong hands,” said Matiang’i on Wednesday.
The president told security agencies to ensure accountability in the use of their weapons.
This is the second such event to take place in two years.
The exercise was made possible by the small arms and light weapons secretariat in Nairobi headed by Charlton Mureithi and the Kenya National Focal Point on Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons.
The KNFP was established in 2003, establishing a focal point secretariat with a focal point committee bringing together government and civil society.
The KNFP has held meetings regularly and recorded a number of achievements.
Kenya has established a multi-pronged community-based strategy to discourage the gun culture.
Measures include public awareness campaigns, community safety initiatives and creating alternative means of livelihood.
Kenya has developed a National Action Plan (NAP) for SALW.
As part of the NAP the KNFP has developed a draft arms management policy, while the Government of Kenya has formally adopted community policing.
Also present were Chief of Defence Forces Gen Robert Kibochi, Inspector General of police Hilary Mutyambai and Kajiado Governor Joel Lenku.