Kindiki should review his banditry orders

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki during a press briefing in Malaso area, Samburu County on Sunday March 12, 2023.

Photo credit: Geoffrey Ondieki I Nation Media Group

The order by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki that families living in the banditry-prone areas vacate within 24 hours seemed tactical but was unsuitable. It’s wrong to order citizens who have been living in an area for a long time to leave without providing them with options. 

Prof Kindiki did not also outline the right protocol or the manner in which the affected Kenyans would travel to their destination and especially how students would learn and be fed at school. 

Naturally, relocation affects living things. Leaving home was certain to adversely affect especially children and women.

According to the CS’s order, people found by security officers in the areas designated as vacated would be termed criminals. But it is wrong to criminalise innocent citizens. What about children? The elderly? Persons with disabilities? 

The government should explore novel ways to protect the lives and livelihoods of Kenyans in the banditry-prone areas, such as conducting a manual search of bandits in the places the communities have identified and protecting the occupied areas—such as agricultural lands, market centres and grazing lands.

The government should pursue national security in compliance with the law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. It must also adhere to national and international humanitarian and human rights laws, principles and standards. 

The government must put in place appropriate measures to ensure no child is denied their right to education through a seamless provision of alternative education centres in the affected areas. It is against children’s rights when a child is missing school as the rest are attending.

The government should be ready to provide food for these Kenyans who will now be internal refugees. Healthcare services should be prioritised in the affected communities. This is to cater for the health needs of the Kenyans and also people living with disabilities and the old.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights should intervene and ensure that the rights of Kenyans are not violated in the security operation. 

CS Kindiki should consult experts on tactical ways to combat the bandits. Kenyans should now be dealing with ways to grow the economy, not fighting bandits. 

Lastly, Kenyans living in the affected areas should assist and cooperate with security agencies to bring an end to perennial insecurity in the region.

Morgan Wanyonyi, Migori