SECTIONS

Bandits warned as Ruto assures locals of tighter security amid increased raids

President William Ruto, Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi and Baringo Central MP Joshua Kandie with other leaders during an interdenominational Prayer and thanksgiving service at Kabarnet ASK showground on November 13, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

President William Ruto has warned of tough security measures in troubled areas of the North Rift region, which has been hit hard by banditry.

Yesterday, after attending an interdenominational thanksgiving service at Kabarnet ASK Showground, the Head of State urged local leaders to engage their people in order to combat lawlessness, which has hampered education and development and caused tension among communities.

“We must do whatever it takes to bring peace to the North Rift. Many people are peaceful, but there are a few criminals who must stop or we will force them to stop.” The President said the government is in the process of reopening schools in the region that had been closed due to insecurity.

“I visited the 20 affected schools, and they must reopen. We adore the people of this area. We are requesting that they leave the criminals to us. The question is not whether they will stop, but when,” he said.

Ruto regretted that banditry had contributed to the region’s food insecurity, leaving most households reliant on donations. He said once the region’s peace is restored, the government will build dams to harvest rainwater for irrigation farming.

“Kerio Valley is a rich agricultural area, but water is wasted because there is no dam. We will build dams and create a farming environment,” he said.

The President was accompanied to the thanksgiving service by his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, as well as MPs, governors, and senators, who were presided over by AIC Church Bishop William Kotut.

When the leaders stood to speak, they emphasised police independence, the strengthening of government institutions, and the fight against graft.

President Ruto reaffirmed his commitment to combating graft in public institutions, stating that progress was being made through increased independence of investigators and the judiciary.

“The sleuths now have their own resources that they can spend as they please. We have given the judiciary the space it needs to make independent and fair decisions,” he said.

According to the President, institutions will go a long way toward ensuring that public officials and citizens maintain high levels of integrity.

“As a government, we believe in establishing strong institutions that will help Kenya become a country where the rule of law is respected regardless of one’s social status,” he said.

Ruto said the government had secured a market for cotton and cotton products in the US and promised to empower farmers to take advantage of it. “In the United States, we only meet three per cent of market demand. As we create jobs and revenue streams, we will revitalise and develop the cotton value chain from farmers to textile processors.”

Gachagua criticised the previous administration for interfering with the independence of the police.