We will use all means to end banditry, Ruto vows

Banditry victims who fled Kapturo village in Baringo North

Catechist Sammy Kebut (right)talks to some of the banditry victims who fled Kapturo village in Baringo North on March 15. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto yesterday issued a fresh warning to bandits, saying plans to end the menace will also target their financiers.

Speaking in Kabarnet, Baringo County, one of the areas affected by runaway insecurity, the Head of State said his administration will use all means to end the banditry, which has claimed several lives.

President Ruto said there is no way vices like cattle rustling can continue to thrive at the expense of people's well-being and development of the country. He insisted that the vice was driven by a “few financiers”, who he said will meet the full force of the law.

“We want to make sure that normalcy returns in the insecurity prone counties in the North Rift region. We want all learners to go to school, women to resume their daily activities without fear of attacks. As we speak, there are more than 20 schools that were closed due to the spate of attacks and whatever it takes, we must bring peace,” said President Ruto.

“We know those wreaking havoc are a few criminals and we will not allow them. I have promised that I will stop them. It is either they choose to leave that kind of business or I will stop it by force. It is not if but when they will stop. Just leave them to me and I will deal with them the best way I know,” said the President.

This comes just a week after the President ordered the reinstatement of national police reservists in the banditry prone areas as the bandits continued to terrorise residents of Baringo, Samburu, West Pokot and Turkana counties.

He insisted that all schools that have been closed because of insecurity in the region will have to reopen while urging leaders to work together to end the menace.

He asked financiers of cattle rustling to look for other economic activities.

“The issue of killing people and stealing livestock will end and we are not begging anyone on this. It will not matter the method we will use or what we will do so that it comes to an end, but we have to deal with it. We do not want any Kenyan to lose his or her life because of the stupidity of banditry,” the President vowed.

On Wednesday, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohamed said 90 police reservists had been recruited, vetted, trained and armed before they were deployed to parts of Turkana East, where bandits killed police officers a month ago.

“The recruiting process has kicked off and the NPRs will complement police efforts to restore order since the security personnel cannot be everywhere at all times. The vetting process has to be rigorous because the NPRs should not be partial while discharging their efforts,” Mr Mohamed said.

At the same time, President Ruto said he will continue to strengthen independent institutions so as to arrest wanton corruption. He noted that by ensuring that the Judiciary is funded properly and police control their own budget will play a key role in fighting graft in the country.

“We must not interfere with the Judiciary and we must give them the space to fight corruption. The police must also have enough funding so that they can deal with the menace without interference from any quarters,” he said.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua asked Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, who was last week allowed to withdraw the Sh7.3 billion graft charges against the DP, to ensure that individuals who suffered from the same treatment are set free.

“Some officers recently claimed that they were forced by the former government to frame me with cases of corruption. But withdrawing them and clearing me is not enough, those other people you also framed should have the cases withdrawn as well. It doesn’t make any sense to punish some individuals just because of their different political ideologies,” said Mr Gachagua.

National Assembly Malority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa, who is also the Kikuyu MP, said the previous administration let down Kenyans in fighting corruption.

“Those who were ahead of you, always spoke about corruption but they were the real masters of corruption. You have in your hands today all instruments of power to empower our institutions and you have seen that when institutions work, things are okay,” he said