Guns won’t stop insecurity in Kerio Valley, David Kimaiyo tells CS Kithure Kindiki

Former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo handing over duty to Deputy IG Samuel Arachi in acting capacity

Former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo (Right)when he was handing over duty to Deputy IG Samuel Arachi in acting capacity at Jogoo House on January 2, 2015 as he exited office. He was Kenya's first Inspector General of Police after creation of the position in the 2010 Constitution.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kenya's first IG of police has advised Pror Kindiki to invest in technical support for security professionals
  • He says government should o rethink its massive deployment of security organs, suggesting more focus on a socio-economic strategy to help poor communities in the region
  • According to Dr Kimaiyo, the perennial insecurity in the North Rift was triggered by historical injustices and developmental marginalisation by past regimes 

Former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo has asked the government to address the root causes of insecurity in the Kerio Valley belt instead of relying solely on fighting the bandits wreaking havoc in the region.

The former police boss has told Cabinet Secretary for Internal Affairs Kindiki Kithure to stop "publicity stunts", meaning he should not engage in too much talk in public on matters regarding security, but instead get down to work so that Kenyans can see the results. He should also invest in technical support for security professionals, said Dr Kimaiyo.

"We have had relative peace in the region but more should be done to stop banditry," Dr Kimaiyo told Nation.Africa in an exclusive interview.

As a criminal justice expert, the former police boss advised the government to rethink its massive deployment of security organs, suggesting more focus on a socio-economic strategy to help poor communities in the region.

Speaking exclusively to Nation.Africa in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County, he said the perennial insecurity in the region was triggered by historical injustices and developmental marginalisation by past regimes that require urgent solutions.

Dr Kimaiyo urged the government to come up with a robust development plan for the region to give hope to communities and help rehabilitate their way of life.

"I live in the Kerio Valley region and I understand the challenges we face there. Let the government identify criminals in the region and also help to open up the region because there are places where you can't even find a church or a school," said the former police chief.

Local strategies

He added: "Let the government use locally based strategic initiatives that will change the face of the region. The government should set up positive development funds to give the locals an alternative way of life.

The former police chief said the government must invest heavily in intelligence in the region to flush out criminals who benefit economically from cattle rustling and insecurity.

Earlier this year, former Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya detailed the complexities that define the banditry menace in northern Kenya and how top government officials and prominent politicians have frustrated the war against criminals in the troubled region.

In an exclusive interview with NTV's Kigoda Chako news programme in February, Mr Natembeya, now the Trans Nzoia governor, said prominent politicians were the main beneficiaries of the banditry that has claimed hundreds of lives in the North Rift region over the years.

No political goodwill

The former regional administrator revealed that lack of political goodwill to tackle the banditry menace that has claimed hundreds of lives in Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Laikipia, Samburu, West Pokot and Turkana over the years has frustrated the war against banditry, further revealing lack of support from senior government officials, including budgetary constraints.

His interview in February came after Prof Kindiki declared the six counties affected by the bandit menace 'disturbed and dangerous' and ordered a crackdown by a multi-agency security team, including the Kenyan military. The operation was led by the Kenyan police and is still ongoing.

The military has since been tasked with opening up road infrastructure in the region and rebuilding schools destroyed by bandits in the area. The military has also set up medical camps in remote areas of the region after bandits destroyed health facilities.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale gazetted the deployment of the Kenya Defence Forces to support the Kenya Police Service in the North Rift following rampant banditry.

Selfish politicians

In an interview with Nation.Africa, Dr Kimaiyo said insincerity among a section of the political class has contributed immensely to the persistent insecurity as they ride on the instigation of local communities for selfish political gains.

His suggestion for dealing with such elements? - That the government should investigate some top leaders in the region for lack of political goodwill towards its efforts to end insecurity.

"Some leaders in the Kerio Valley are funding banditry and have been doing so for a long time. The security apparatus should therefore be on high alert and take action against such rogue leaders," Kimaiyo told the Nation.

In his interview with NTV, Mr Natembeya had claimed that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) had a list of suspected financiers of criminals in the North Rift banditry and that helicopters were being used to supply arms and ammunition to the bandits, noting that a well-coordinated strategy would wipe out the criminals for good. 

Shakahola massacre

Dr Kimaiyo said it was important for the public to volunteer information to the police about crimes in their neighbourhoods, citing the Shakahola deaths of hundreds of Kenyans in Malindi in a cult linked to controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie as an example of tragedies that could have been averted if there had been positive cooperation between the two sides.

"You can imagine how many lives would have been saved if the people of Shakahola had been brave enough to expose the masterminds behind the deaths. This should be a wake-up call to the government's approach to intelligence gathering," said Mr Kimaiyo.