Kenya: DP William Ruto's Allies Lose Firearms as Crackdown Intensifies

Deputy President William Ruto.

The Firearm Licensing Board has revoked the licences of MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) and Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon) with immediate effect, amid a crackdown on politicians who fanned violence during by-elections on March 5.

A March 5 statement, signed by board chair Charles Mukindia, said the decision followed instructions from Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and an analysis of cases of misconduct.

The two lawmakers were ordered to "surrender firearm certificates and firearms, including all ammunition, in their possession to the board or the nearest police station within 24 hours".

"Failure to comply will attract legal sanctions by the enforcement agency," the chair warned.

He added that the board will continue monitoring cases of the misuse of weapons by licensed holders and take appropriate actions.

No bodyguards

The Nation has learn that regional police commanders from Western and Rift Valley have been instructed to trace politicians accused of fanning the chaos and violence during the by-elections and confiscate their weapons.

The Nation has also learnt that bodyguards assigned to the affected politicians did not report to work on Saturday morning, creating fears that their security may have been withdrawn.

"My bodyguard did not report to work this morning," Mr Barasa told the Nation.

"He told me he had been ordered by his superiors in the National Police Service to report back for redeployment. My pistol too has been confiscated by the State."

This came hours after Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang'i announced a decision on Friday to cancel licences of those suspected of perpetrating political violence.

Others affected

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei has also been affected.

He said the move by State agencies "to arbitrarily withdraw our security and licensed firearms is illegal and unconstitutional, especially to leaders allied to Ruto".

In addition to Mr Barasa, Mr Kapondi and Mr Cherargei, the State also confiscated guns belonging to Belgut MP Nelson Koech and Chesumei's Wilson Kogo.

The Ruto allies were on Friday charged in connection with the violence in Kabuchai Constituency and released on Sh50,000 cash bail each.

Also in trouble over the violence in Kabuchai are nominated Senator Millicent Omanga, Mr Kapondi and Lungalunga MP Khatib Mwashetani.

Ms Omanga's security was withdrawn while we could not establish the fate of the other three as we could not reach them.

"My personal security has been withdrawn. No explanation [has been] given," Ms Omanga said on her social media platforms.

"I frown upon this move and demand that my security, which I'm entitled to as a member of Parliament, be reinstated by the State. I am, however, not worried because my security is God and the people. I remain strong."

More targeted

It is understood that the number of MPs targeted in the crackdown could be higher.

Police bosses from Western and Rift regions remained tight lipped on the matter.

"I have just arrived from Mararal so I wouldn't know about what you are saying," said Rift Valley Regional Police Commander Marcus Ocholla.

"You ask the police spokesman about such issues, not me," said Western Regional Police Commander Peris Kimani.

The withdrawal of security and firearms from MPs is not new.

In 2018, the State withdrew the security detail assigned to a number of National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders after ODM leader Raila Odinga's swearing-in as the "people's president".

In April 2019, the State withdrew security assigned to Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wah, Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri and the then Kiambu Governor Ferdinard Waititu.

The National Police Service said at the time that the move was in line with a routine restructuring of VIP protection.

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