CS Matiang’i names new members of Firearms Licensing Board

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has appointed new members of the Firearms Licensing Board days after disbanding the former team.

Matiang’i named Charles Mwongera Mukindia as the chairman of the board in a gazette notice dated November 28.

Other members include David Kahinga, Jackson Kimutai Rotich, Vincent Wahoro, Nancy Kabete, Justine Odhiambo Khaduli and Lazarus Mbondo.

This came almost a week after Matiang’i announced he had disbanded the former board.

Mukindia who is seconded from the National Intelligence Service takes over from Maj-Gen (Rtd) Charles Mwanzia, a former Director of Military Intelligence who had acted as the chairman since February.

The new team starts its work on December 3.

Claims of corruption in the process of issuance of guns to civilians formed the basis for to disband a body charged with the exercise.

Further claims of nepotism and corruption too influenced the CS to stop a planned recruitment and arming of Kenya Police Reservists in various parts of the country.

The majority of KPR usually serve in rural and pastoralist areas where they are used to confront bandits. There are about 8,000 KPR in the country.

After a brief probe revealed there were plans to arm thousands of civilians and allow them to join KPR, which would be dangerous to many regions, the government announced the stoppage of the process.

Matiang’i said police are conducting comprehensive audit of police reservists to identify those who have firearms in their possession and strip the weapons from wrong hands.

Recently, there have been reports some gun holders are illegally having the weapons after bribing to get permits from the Chief Firearms Licensing Officer, prompting the new development.

Some firearm holders have discovered that the firearm certificates they hold belongs to previous deceased licensed firearm holders and had been revoked. 

Matiang’i announced the disbandment of the Board citing corruption, incompetence and misbehaviour that have been ailing the previous board.

 “We have been working quietly in the last few months to create a digital record of all those who hold genuine and legit firearms certificates. The exercise is almost complete. We shall be issuing new certificates soon. Anyone not holding the new certificate, will be deemed to be holding an illegal firearm,” he noted.

There are about 15,000 private gun owners in the country.

The announcement comes a month after cancellation of 21 gun dealers and shooting ranges licenses where all licensed individual guns practice their skills have been suspended with immediate effect.

The Interior Ministry through the FLB is verifying all gun dealers and firearms licenses to confirm if they were regularly and genuinely issued.

Also under scrutiny are the regulations in place and whether they can be improved to regulate the growing sector.

New training and inductions are also being introduced as well as before new licenses are issued to all licensed firearm holders within one year.