, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 17 – It was a beehive of activities at the Firearms Licensing Board offices in Nairobi on Monday, at the start of the 90-day moratorium for civilian gun owners.
Dozens of civilian gun owners trooped to the offices to verify the status of the firearms as the government embarks on fresh registration, but none was willing to give an interview.
Several high profile leaders, including two MPs were among those who turned up for the verification exercise that was gazetted earlier this month by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi.
Our Reporter said he saw several businessmen of Asian origin going in and out of the Firearms Board offices, but none was willing to speak about their mission there.
The tightly-guarded Firearms Licensing Board, located on Mandera Road in Kileleshwa, is headed by Charles Mukindia, following the disbandment of the previous board that was accused of supervising the issuance of firearms through corruption.
When Mukindia was informed about the presence of Reporters who were seeking his comment, he pledged to speak to journalists at a later date.
The board members are David Kahinga, Jackson Kimutai Rotich, Vincent Wahoro, Nancy Kabete, Justin Odhiambo Khaduli and Lazarus Mbondo.
Already, a section of the civilian gun owners under the auspices of the Association of Guns Owners have moved to court to challenge Matiangi’s directive.
According to Matiangi, the move is aimed at mopping up a long history of irregularities in the certification of firearms ownership and use by private citizens.
He said some lapses in the “licensing of firearms dealers, civilian holders, and shooting range owners have led to the illegal possession, transfer, misuse, and trafficking of such weapons thereby posing major threats to national and regional security.”
“It goes without saying that this dangerous trend has fueled various acts of terrorism and crime such as robbery with violence, carjacking, poaching, and cattle rustling among others,” he said.
Civilians in possession of any prohibited firearm were directed to surrender to the Government which ranges from automatic or semi-automatic self-loading military assault rifles such as a G3, AK-47, M16 rifle, Uzi, CZ scorpion, Sterling-Patchett, Evo 3 and MP5 among others.
“If in doubt about a specific weapon, the holder should seek advice from the nearest police station before the expiry of the respite period,” the Ministry advised on December 5.
“All preferential certifications and special considerations that might have been accorded earlier for specific civilian firearms holders under whichever circumstances are hereby abrogated with an immediate effect.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet will also oversee a fresh vetting of all police reservists with a view of creating a new database to ensure it is not infiltrated by criminals.