Elected Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) in the North Rift have sharply differed on proposals to allocate members with firearms in the wake of ugly incidents that have seen politicians attacked.
Josephat Lowoi, Uasin Gishu County Assembly majority leader differed with those calling for guns terming the demand as unwise and compromising to the safety of the public.
“Following recent incidents in political rallies and public forums it is clear that the firearms can be easily misused causing unnecessary loss of lives,” he said.
Lowoi told The Standard that there were sufficient security structures to ensure the safety of the leaders and citizens as well, and the demand was unnecessary and would compromise national security in general.
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“I do not believe that the weapons can be safely used in the hands of individual security personnel. There are already many illegal weapons in the country besides those in private possession and in reality the arms have been used irregularly,” he said.
The Karuna Ward MCA further said that the nature of their job does not warrant a high security detail and questioned the motive of his colleagues agitating for firearms.
His Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Wilson Kipketer however insisted it is imperative for county legislators to be granted more security owing to the nature of their job that involves making major decisions at both the devolved and national levels of leadership.
“We are key decision makers in the county. Some times we make decisions that do not go well with everybody and this makes us susceptible to insecurity threats and we need to safeguard ourselves in advance,” he said, adding that like their fellow legislators at the National Assembly, they are involved in the planning and usage of huge sums of money allocated to the counties and need to enjoy similar protection.
“I verily support access to firearms and we will push this agenda until the national government heeds to our calls and helps us secure ourselves from several threats that we are prone to,” said Kipketer.
National County Speakers Forum Secretary General Albert Kochei said MCAs are entitled to official national security like other State officers.
“When it comes to welfare issues of State officers, security is included. The MCAs need firearms too since they are discharging similar mandates,” said Kochei.