The ongoing security operation in parts of Pokot and Baringo counties was long overdue. The Government decision to flush out bandits who have been terrorising residents in the past six or so months should be applauded by all peace-loving Kenyans.
According to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, the security operation will target 19 areas. They include: Arabal, Kiserian, Mochongoi, Rugus, Mukutani, Chebinyinyi, Komolion, Chepkalacha, Makutano, paka, Orus, Loiwat, Silale, Nando, Tangulbei, Chepkererat, Kipnai, Ngoron and Amaya. While as a Baringo resident I fully support this operation, I have emphasized that it must be conducted in a civilised and legal manner to achieve its goal of apprehending the criminals behind the runaway insecurity.
It has to go on record that in areas where security operations have been carried out in the past; cases of innocent people either being brutalised by security personnel or innocent women being raped have been reported. We expect this operation to target criminals and not innocent people going about their daily activities being arrested in the name of a security operation.
We are also aware that this operation comes after the killing of Loyamorok MCA Frederick Cheretei and Tiaty parliamentary aspirant Simon Kitambaa. Before being shot dead Mr Kitambaa, had presented his nomination papers to Jubilee Party which he intended to contest on.
He was appointed chairman of the National Council for Population and Development by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year and was to battle it out with Tiaty MP Asman Kamama, in the Jubilee primaries. His shooting and that of the Loyamorok MCA on February 19 inside the T-Junction bar and restaurant in Marigat Town should be thoroughly investigated and their killers arrested.
However, as police continue with their investigations to establish the motive behind the killing of Cheretei and Kitambaa, it has to be noted that cattle-rustling is making life unbearable in Baringo County and it is now high time the Government brought this menace to an end.
The government which is mandated to guarantee security and safety of its citizens and their property, has to use this operation to achieve that. But it has to be noted that cattle-rustling is not a new phenomenon in Baringo County. The county has been turned into a playground for cattle rustlers from Pokot County over the years. In the past, while cattle-rustling among the pastoralists was driven by traditional inclinations, today, theft of livestock is a multi-million shilling enterprise that is thriving through political and security patronage.