By Victor Bwire
The killings that are going in parts of the Rift Valley, especially Marakwet, Laikipia and Baringo needs to be dealt with immediately. The lose of lives, destruction of property and resources is too much for Kenyans in that region. It touches, because nearly every week, my workmate lose a relative/village mate, has to fund raise, travel home and support the funerals or medical expenses. He is now weak, psychologically weighed down, bitter and his productivity at work has gone down. People are desperate and need to be secured. There are people behind the insecurity and all must be done to rescue Kenyans.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights did a Public Inquiry on perennial conflict in the North Rift and its impact on the enjoyment of human rights in 2016, and the findings can help the security agencies in dealing with the situation. Something needs to be done urgently to restore security in this area, not only because of the forthcoming general elections- otherwise the residents might be able to exercise their democratic right to vote- and also the loss of lives, the wanton destruction of property and displacements are a gross human rights violation.
The continued massacre of innocent civilians over the last three months has exposed the operational challenges and casual manner the security apparatus is treating the security of the residents. The attacks and killings seem organized, targeted and in have political undertones.
The security agencies have the capacity to contain these attacks and we should move with speed to deal. Starting with the national intelligence services, regional county security committee, the Criminal Investigations Department, the Police and by extension the KDF, the situation should be immediately contained. I am sure, through the citizen participation in national security project, there is enough information to enable the security agencies not only contain the situation, but apprehend the perpetrators of these heinous acts.
We need to handle the security of the areas including ensuring that we equip the officers providing security with basic working tools including enough relevant intelligence, communication tools, bulletproof jackets and helmets and back up. Officers should not be allowed to use their personal mobile phone numbers and airtime to do official work and communication. How safe is official intelligence communication between security agencies when its done through sms or private mobile phone channels?
We must rethink our counter surveillance approach, intelligence gathering and sharing mechanisms, investment in forensic laboratories communication and above all, the integrity of our officers in the security agencies.More needs to be done to restructure redeployment and retraining of officers on modern policing techniques, the putting up of the national forensic laboratory and recruitment of professional cadres of people into the force.
The writer is the deputy CEO of the Media Council of Council