Inside State’s Sh20 billion war chest to fight bandits

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki leaves Lokori in Turkana East Constituency after addressing a public baraza

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki leaves Lokori in Turkana East Constituency after addressing a public baraza on June 7, 2023.

Photo credit: Pool

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has revealed plans by the government to inject over Sh20 billion in the fight against insecurity in the North Rift region that has borne the brunt of cattle rustling and banditry attacks.

The CS, who was in Lokori on Wednesday to assess the ongoing Operation Maliza Uhalifu by the police and military forces, said the funds will be spent on equipping security teams with technology and equipment, including vehicles and planes, as well as on upgrading their skills.

“We will have specialised formations to fight terrorism, cross-border crime and banditry,” said Prof Kindiki. He made the remarks after meeting with the county leadership to deliberate on the development and delivery of government services to locals. He said the government will next week form four new administrative units in Turkana County; Suguta, Lokiriama, Aroo and Lokichogio sub-counties. 

“All schools in Turkana East Constituency that were raided and vandalised by bandits —among them Napeitom, Nadome, Lokidong'iru and Ng'ilukia — will be rehabilitated. Kenya Defence Forces and National Youth Service officers will help in rebuilding the institutions. Sh100 million has been released for the purchase of construction materials,” Prof Kindiki said.

Local leaders had cast doubt over the plans, saying, since Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu made a similar announcement in March, there had been little progress.

Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai and Woman Rep Cecilia Ngitit, speaking during an education day organised by the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar and presided over by Head of Public Service and President’s Chief of Staff Felix Koskei on May 27, had claimed the State hadn’t revealed all the schools that will be rebuilt and when the reconstruction was rescheduled to kick off.

“We still don’t know of any school that was torched by bandits and has received money,” Mr Lomorukai said at the time.

Diligence and patriotism

On her part, Ms Ngitit had called for a comprehensive assessment of all vandalised schools.

“Besides enhanced security, we expect the government to guarantee children in banditry-prone villages of full scholarships once they complete their primary education. The National Government Affirmative Action Fund programme that provides free sanitary towels and bursaries will only have a tangible effect if insecurity will also be addressed," Ms Ngitit said.

On Wednesday, Prof Kindiki said officers involved in the security operation had executed their assignment with professionalism, diligence and patriotism. 

“Bandits and armed criminals who were hiding in ravines, gorges, valleys, and escarpments have been flushed out. Security officers will remain vigilant to secure residents to ensure they carry on with their lives unmolested and that the criminals do not regroup,” Prof Kindiki said.