MPs engage in heated debate over military operation in Kapedo

There was a stormy session in the National Assembly when MPs from Pokot and Turkana counties exchanged barbs over the military operation in Kapedo.

James Lomenen (Turkana South) fired the first salvo when he said the military must go on with the disarmament of the pastoralist Pokot community for killing 19 police officers in the volatile border between Baringo and Turkana counties.

"KDF should continue with their work until all civilians know there's a government in place," said Mr Lomenen during debate on an adjournment motion filed by Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills).

David Pkosing (Pokot South) fired back, saying the people who perpetrated the Baragoi attack, in which 42 policemen were killed and their guns stolen, should also be forced to return the guns.

"There are 40 guns in the hands of civilians and those are being used to massacre Pokots, innocent Kenyans. It is on record that there was no operation after the Baragoi incident," said Pkosing.

Chairman of the House Committee on National Security, Asman Kamama (Tiaty), asked the military not to burn houses during the operation.

"The entire region must be disarmed, but it should have a human face. Merti, Turkana, all places must be disarmed comprehensively and simultaneously," said Mr Kamama.

Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo said there was a structural problem in the police force.

"When the army goes to Pokot and burns houses, which house stole a gun? Which house killed a police officer?" asked Mr Midiwo.

For Joseph Nkaissery (Kajiado Central), the Government should impose harsh penalties on cattle rustling and stop treating it as a cultural practice.

"We should create a law making cattle rustling a capital offence. We cannot be leading cattle rustlers; we lead people," he said.