By Robert Manyara, NAKURU, Kenya,
Recurrent attacks in some parts of Kenya
especially in the northern and coastal regions have caused major
security shake-ups in the East African nation with the
government reinforcing security in the affected areas.
During the attacks, people have
died, livestock-which to some is the main source of livelihood,
have been killed or stolen and property worth of millions of
Due to fear, some members of the
local communities have moved away to places they feel secure
while others are left with no option but to remain in their
homelands under the protection of the police officers.
And peace keepers in the country
maintain that neither social nor economic developments will be
recorded in the affected regions if insecurity continue to
remain a concern.
They attribute the increasing
attacks to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in
the developing state, which is one of the most preferred tourist
destinations in the world.
In efforts to counteract the fast
spread of the deadly weapons among the civilians, the peace
activists have now embarked on aggressive pro-active measures in
areas deemed to be the trading zones of the arms.
Unlike in their current
operations, they intend to have many disintegrated peace
communities within the villages to relay the sensitive security
information to the relevant authorities for action.
According to Abdi Bashir, Kenya’s
Peace Building and Conflict Management director, increased
supply and exchange of the illegal small arms and light weapons
is a serious emerging security issue that needs coordinated
efforts from all the stakeholders.
is pegged on security. When people feel secure, they focus
more on the long term investments but without security they
will not,” said Bashir.
an increased number of the disintegrated peace committees in
the areas mostly affected, we will able to have all pieces
of information regarding the movement of the arms and
together with the Kenyan security officers, we will be able
to control their spread.”
In a 2012 report on the
availability of the small arms in the country, firearms ranging
between 530,000 and 680,000 were shown to be in the hands of the
The survey that was jointly done
by Kenya National Focus Point on Small Arms And Light Weapons
and the Small Arms Survey also indicated North Eastern, Upper
Eastern, and North Rift as regions heavily infested with the
exchange of the illegal arms.
is one of the emerging issues that is causing distress to
the maintenance of security not only in Kenya but other
countries too. And we need coordinated and integrated
efforts to end the circulation of these weapons. This means
we need the input of every community member,” said Alfredo
Teixeira, the deputy country director for UN Development
Program (UNDP) Kenya.
According to the report entitled
Availability of Small Arms and Perceptions of Security in Kenya:
An Assessment, networks of dealers and suppliers operationalize
the circulation of the firearms to various parts of the country.
Some of the major urban centers
identified to be the conveyor channels or destinations to the
deadly weapons include the country’s capital city; Nairobi.
Others are Kisumi, Eldoret; Thika and Mombasa.
Although these dealers and
suppliers said to have discreet contacts are known to the locals
as reported in the survey, members of the communities fear
reporting them to the security authorities.
To help the government short
circuit the dragnets, the peace advocates say they will engage
in consistent drives enlightening communities on the necessity
of sharing security information to protect their lives and
information must be handled in a very covert manner and in
extreme confidence so that the life of the individual who
relayed it is not put at risk. This is what we need to
assure the residents of, to have trust in us and the
security officers. Otherwise, fighting this menace won’t be
easy,” Nakuru County Commissioner Mohammed Birik said.
Under the new pro-active security
response mode to be adopted across the country, all the peace
committees in the devolved units in the county governments will
be involved in actively engaging the public through dialogue and
peace building initiatives in efforts to promote confidential
volunteering of the intelligence information.
Already, the government together
with UNDP and Peace Building and Conflict Management has
completed holding consultative talks with all the peace
stakeholders in all the 47 counties in the country in efforts to
establish a formidable structure for maintaining peace in the
East African state.
Through the relevant ministries,
the government is set to come up with stipulated mechanisms
based on the recommendations made by various peace agents and
authorities during the forums.