In a move that is likely to be suggestive of political undertones, and power play intrigues, the government has announced that in the next 24 hours, it will be locking down parts of the Rift Valley.
Among steps that are expected to be taken are the imposing of a dusk-to-dawn curfew and launching of a formidable security operation and also a sustained campaign of forced disarmament.
The disarmament drive has become inevitable after county leaders who had been entrusted with the role of recovering illegal arms, only recovered three guns in the region that suffers from a leadership vacuum and prevalent mistrust between leaders and the locals.
Rift Valley regional coordinator George Natembeya announced the security operation on Tuesday at his office in Nakuru. He said the government decided to declare the whole region a security operations area and commence forced disarmament of warring communities.
He further added that the three-month grace period for voluntary surrender of weapons failed.
The security operation will be carried out by a multi-agency team of the General Service Unit, Anti-Stock Theft Unit, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, National Intelligence Service, Rapid Deployment Unit and National Government Administrative Officers.
Leaders in the region strongly opposed the government security operation in the Kapedo area in January this year and appealed for time to persuade residents to give up arms.
“The grace period was to expire on April 23 but we have decided to move in because it is clear leaders have failed, they fear their constituents and cannot offer any leadership,” he said.
Natembeya said North Rift suffered a leadership vacuum because the leaders fear and even follow the dictates of their constituents.
“Proliferation of arms in the region is very high, almost every family owns several guns and one wonders how the leaders who were highly opposed to forced disarmament could only manage to recover three guns,” he said.
Natembeya who was accompanied by regional heads of security agencies said the operation that was initially in Baringo will extend to Laikipia, Samburu, Turkana East and West Pokot.