Last Friday’s raid by police on three homes in the posh Karen estate in Nairobi, including that of former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s eldest son, Jomo, lifts the lid on gun politics in the country.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki said 23 firearms suspected to have been used in illegal activities were recovered at three homesteads.
“Today’s operation is part of a broader operation targeting scores of firearm holders who are reasonably suspected to be availing firearms not only for purposes of supporting violent protests, but also other illegal activities,” the CS said in a statement, barely hours after Mr Kenyatta protested against the raid on his son’s home.
The operation, coupled with the recent arrests of opposition leaders, has exposed the soft underbelly of President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza administration.
The Law Society of Kenya President Eric Theuri on Monday accused the government of setting a bad precedent by charging people who hold contrary opinion to the State.
“This country is drifting back to the dark times where the government violates the rights of Kenyans with divergent opinion,” Mr Theuri said.
Former East Africa Law Society president James Mwamu claimed it is a witch-hunt by the Ruto administration, questioning why the 23 firearms have not been presented to court.
“The government is the custodian of the licensed gun registers and have every information and details of licensed firearms. The big question is why haven’t they produced those guns in court if the operation was genuine?” he posed.
Mr Mwamu also questioned why the police failed to arrest the alleged private shooters who killed and maimed innocent demonstrators if they were not police officers.
The operation on illegal firearms under President Ruto is reminiscent of the police raids on the home and Kwacha House offices of businessman and politician Jimi Wanjigi in 2017 and 2022 respectively during the tenure of his predecessor, Mr Kenyatta.
Mr Wanjigi would be cleared by the court after it ruled that the guns in question were licensed.
“It was a clear case of persecution by Uhuru’s regime and we cannot let a repeat of the same happen to anybody else, including Kenyatta’s family, because two wrongs don’t make a right,” Mr Wanjigi told Nation. Africa.
He said nobody likes carrying guns but only circumstances compel individuals to apply for a firearm licence.
“It’s not something prestigious but there is nothing wrong in holding licensed firearms for protection and provision of security,” Mr Wanjigi said.
He pointed out that firearms licensing is not a favour.
“Karma can be very vicious. What I see is Uhuru facing Karma following what his administration did to me but this is not something we can wish to happen to anybody because two wrongs don’t make a right,” the businessman said.
Mr Kenyatta yesterday opened up on the controversy surrounding his sons’ possession of firearms, explaining that the two – Jomo and Muhoho – have three guns each, which they were forced to acquire after their security was withdrawn immediately Dr Ruto took office last year.
But former Kanu secretary-general Nick Salat insists that the government has a right to conduct a search anywhere whenever it feels that can help address any security concern.
“Uhuru should emulate two retired presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki (both deceased) and stop engaging in politics. He must live with the fact that William Ruto is now the President and the commander-in-chief of the Defence Forces and avoid controversies,” Mr Salat told ‘Nation’ yesterday.
He said all Kenyans are obligated to follow the law and to allow law enforcement officers carry out their duties without any hindrance.
Likuyani MP Innocent Mugabe, however, said the Kenya Kwanza administration is persecuting its critics.
“When you look at the series of events, the government is trying to lay ground for an authoritarian leadership, dictatorship and use of force in governing the country. Soon people will be denied their rights to picket, demonstrate and present petitions,” Mr Mugabe said.
The government, he said, seems to be planting hooligans among demonstrators to create chaos so that the police can react to that.
“This will kill our democracy because people will be scared to protest. Where there is no proper democracy, there will be no checks and balances and the government will do whatever it wants,” he said.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi also waded into the gun debate, saying during former President Kenyatta's regime, he was also a victim of a police raid at his home in search for firearms.
“I want say that even when Uhuru was President, police came to my home looking for firearms. Nobody is above the law,” he said.
Mr Mudavadi said the police even insisted on checking whether his firearm was properly licensed. “We must all respect the law. They even told me that they wanted to see if I was properly licensed and this was because I was not above the law,” he said.