Kenya security chiefs meet

October 1, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 – Top security chiefs met in Nairobi on Thursday to map out a strategy for wiping out organised crime in Kenya.
Led by Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti, the security bosses met at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies to particularly map out ways of fighting cattle rustling and notorious gangs like the Mungiki.
“We also met to talk about the Organised Crime Bill that will be introduced in Parliament soon,” the Minister told reporters soon after the closed-door talks.
Prof Saitoti in his address said lack of stiff penalties against organised crime had hampered the fight against the vice.
The Minister said he would consult the security chiefs who included Defense Minister Yusuf Hajji, Chief of General Staff Jeremiah Kianga, National Security Intelligence Services (NSIS) chief Michael Gichangi, Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and his Administration Police counterpart Kinuthia Mbugua to fine-tune the bill before it is presented to Parliament in its next session and expressed hopes it would be passed.
Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia was also present at the workshop on proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
Also discussed at the meeting was debate on whether to retain police reserves in rural areas, particularly in the North Rift and upper Eastern Province where cattle rustling is rampant.
Most of those present are reported to have argued that the existence of police reserves in the rural areas was a major contributing factor for the increased cases of cattle rustling and killings.
Rift Valley Provincial Police Chief Francis Munyambu is reported to have told the meeting that police reserves “were posing a great challenge to the war against cattle-rustling in the area.”
A source who attended the closed door-meeting before members of the press were allowed in, told Capital News that most senior officers had expressed frustration over the existence of police reserves.
“Although it is a good idea to have police reserves, it is difficult to know who the genuine ones are. In the end, criminals will always end up walking with rifles and don police uniforms only to harass people and steal animals,” a source said.
Police reserves are usually provided with rifles, ammunitions and police uniforms to assist in fighting crime.
When Maj Gen (Rtd) Hussein Ali was appointed police chief in 2003, he started by disbanding police reserves in urban areas.
Today, police reserves are only found in rural areas but the meeting is expected to decide if to re-introduce them in urban areas once the final resolutions are reached on Friday.
Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia told journalists the two-day security meeting was necessitated by the recent attacks in Samburu and Isiolo where up to 50 people were killed in cattle-rustling related incidents.
Other resolutions which were expected to be ratified at the high profile security meeting include launching yet another disarmament exercise.
Prof Saitoti told the meeting the initial disarmament in 2005 targeted recovering 50,000 rifles and light weapons but only netted 2,410.
“We are now discussing the modalities of launching another exercise and this time it will be sustained for a long time,” Prof Saitoti said.


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