CS Fred Matiang’i announces security changes to end Laikipia killings


One of the classrooms that were set ablaze in Mirigwit Primary School in Ol Moran, Laikipia County.  [Harun Wathari, Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i is today expected to announce changes in security management of Laikipia County, even as governors call for deployment of the military to quell the escalating violence.

Matiang’i said the changes are meant to beef up the ongoing security operation that is meant to end banditry attacks. 

“We have had to make necessary changes and we are going to make even more changes in terms of re-configuring our deployment,” said Matiang’i during a meeting with regional and county commissioners in Nairobi.

Meanwhile, Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Martin Wambora said only a military intervention will bring lasting peace in Laikipia.

Wambora said the same tactic was applied during his time as a district commissioner (DC) in Baringo in the 1980s and it worked.

“In view of the foregoing, the Council of Governors is proposing... the national government... to establish those responsible as a matter of urgency, arrest and prosecute them,” he said. The CoG also proposed that the government establishes a comprehensive mechanism for disarmament and that county governments and communities within the Suguta Valley triangle, which consists of Laikipia, Samburu, Baringo, Isiolo, Marsabit, West Pokot and Turkana counties to help get a long-term solution.

A group of MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto castigated the government and Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai for what they termed as “unwillingness” to stop the security crisis in Laikipia.

Politically instigated

However, Matiang’i said the National Security Committee has adopted a comprehensive approach in dealing with the banditry, adding that the crisis is politically instigated.

“We are not worried about containment because what is happening in Laikipia is seasonal. Every time we approach an election the conflicts flare up and calm is restored after elections,” he said.

“We will be on the ground for many months to ensure we address the land issues, and administrative and deployment concerns so that we address the problem once and for all.”

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi and Woman Rep Catherine Waruguru called on the government to return the guns taken from the Kenya Police Reservists to address the problem of possession of illegal guns.

The leaders accused senior security officials of selective response to conflict in which a number of people, including police officers, have been killed and property destroyed.

They claimed Matiang’i was reluctant to address the security crisis as soon as the attacks started.

“The mobilisation demonstrated when disrupting political gatherings, pursuing and arresting politicians has been nothing short of impressive. We however, observe that this enthusiasm and dedication has been completely lacking when genuine security threats legitimately demand decisive police response,” said Kandara MP Alice Wahome.

“Many Kenyan lives have been lost, and more are in danger. Mistakes have been made, and there has been a notable display of disinterest, incompetence and unwillingness on the part of the government to provide security to its people.”

[Reports by Jacinta Mutura, James Wanzala and David Njaaga]