In northern Kenya, cattle rustling and banditry have been going on for many years. In recent years, however, there has been deliberate targeting of police by the criminals.
In any civilised society, the government must have monopoly of violence.
When criminals start killing security officers, they have already declared war on the state.
In such a situation, the state has no choice but to consider the bandits as enemy combatants, and fight them the same way the army would defend the country when attacked by foreign forces.
Peace will only prevail in northern Kenya, and other regions infested with bandits, when the criminals start FEARING the government.
When bandits start killing civilians and the police, in a place that is teeming with security officers, it can only mean one thing: They are being fed real-time movements/positions of the police and other security officers.
i.e. the "normal" cattle rustlers/bandits have been infiltrated by powerful external forces who do not wish Kenya well.
In such a situation, normal security operations will not succeed.
The fact that there will be elections later in the year, makes the need to eradicate cattle rustling and banditry all the more urgent.
In North Rift, via use of PSYOPS (use of mind games and manipulated info to make someone believe a lie is true), there are many people who have been convinced that a particular presidential candidate "has been selected by god to become the next Kenya president".
The people behind these PSYOPS know what they are doing.
They could be planning the following: Elections are held. That candidate loses miserably, as expected. Demos begin in North Rift.
At the same time, the infiltrated cattle rustlers/bandits, this time armed with powerful weapons supplied by shadowy foreigners, over-ran multiple police stations, massacring anyone in sight.
Within a week, Kenya would be in full-blown civil war.
Foreign Media will be talking about "Kenyans fighting over disputed elections".
However, reality will be that, Kenya would have been attacked by well-trained and armed sleeper cells that had infiltrated the cattle rustlers/bandits.
Unfortunately, it would then be too late to save the country. Tribal violence will already have started, and gone out of control.
1. First, we must acknowledge that there are many people in northern Kenya with illegal weapons, and all of them cannot be jailed.
However, everyone must be made to understand that the era of people herding their animals, while moving around carrying rifles, is over.
Any person found with an illegal gun, not just in Northern Kenya, but throughout the country, should be treated as an enemy combatant.
This means that, if you are herding cattle, while armed with a gun, then you are arrested, and your gun & cattle are CONFISCATED by the state.
Your gun will be equivalent to an enemy tank during war; while the cattle will be equivalent to enemy camouflage/support equipment during war.
During war between countries, when soldiers surrender, they are not given back their weapons, nor their camouflage & related equipment.
In the same way, if you are a lorry driver, and you are found to have an illegal weapon while on the road, you are arrested, and the weapon, lorry, and the goods you were ferrying are CONFISCATED by the state.
If you are walking on foot (not herding animals) while carrying an illegal rifle, you should be considered to be a terrorist, and charged accordingly.
2. No movement of animals between Northern counties (or divisions/constituencies in some areas), without clear government authorisation. If found grazing animals in another county, without express government authorisation, the animals become property of the state.
This is because, unless one has sinister agenda, they would seek to obtain govt authorisation before crossing to another county with their animals.
3. When the hard-core cattle rustlers/bandits are defeated, then the govt should establish extra police stations in the region, run by paramilitary officers, armed much, much BETTER than any local bandits.
Once animals are stolen, and reported to the police, their recovery should be quick. The culprits also must face full force of the law.
If this happens several times, most pastoralists will realise that they don't need illegal guns to protect their cows, goats, camels etc.
When that stage is reached, then it would be time to mop out the illegal guns hidden in homes.
With peace in the northern counties, children would be able to go to school, and achieve their dreams. It is a good deal for everyone, apart from the criminals.
Certainly, it could be argued that no law allows the above deterrent measures to be effected. However, when the SLDF wrecked havoc in Mt Elgon 20 years ago - killing hundreds of civilians - did the government let the law tie them down?
NO. They went into action. They sent in the Army. And within months, the terrorists had been vanquished.
Kenya is currently facing possibility of Mt Elgon scenario being replicated in very many counties.
The law should not be used to let thousands of Kenyans be killed, and millions displaced.
Look at West Africa. In several countries there, it is common for armed bandits to raid villages and kill 100 or more civilians.
Consequently, some of these countries have technically become failed states, where the only hope for the youth is to somehow cross the Sahara, and sail to Europe.
Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of the youth who leave home manage to land in Europe alive.
Many die along the way due to various hardships, lack of medical attention, drowning crossing the Mediterranean, while others end up as slaves in North Africa.
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