Two governors and a controversial East Africa Legislative Assembly MP are among hundreds of elected leaders who risk being arrested after the government declared 4,293 registered firearm holders armed and dangerous.
This follows the expiry of a seven-day notice.
On Friday, Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai announced that the government had started mopping up the firearms, which he described as “illegal and in the wrong hands”.
For armed individuals who have been using their firearms as status symbols but have fake licences, their days of impunity seem to be over.
The Saturday Nation understands that President Uhuru Kenyatta has given the Firearms Registration Bureau, National Police Service and the National Intelligence Service his full blessings in order to make sure there will be nowhere to hide for the individuals on the government’s radar.
“I have directed the regional commanders to begin recovering the firearms and make arrests with immediate effect. An operation to apprehend, disarm and charge the culprits will begin immediately,” the IG ordered.
“Further all firearm dealers are directed to immediately declare and hand over any firearms and ammunitions surrendered by owners to the nearest police stations,” said the IG.
Security sources said those on the list, which has been distributed to regional commanders, are prominent businessmen, lawyers and socialites who have been involved in gun dramas in the recent past.
Most of these individuals never passed the stringent vetting requirements, which require one to take a mental test and have their firearm-handling and use skills tested at a shooting range.
UP IN ARMS
Some of the licensed firearm holders who have been involved in gun-related incidents in recent years are musician CMB Prezzo, politician Steve Mbogo, former Nakuru Senator Paul Njoroge, businessman Paul Kobia, lawyer Assa Nyakundi, suspected gold fraudster Kevin Obia and businessman Jimi Wanjigi.
Already, a number of firearm holders who did not turn up for vetting, especially politicians, have been thronging police stations to return their guns for fear of arrest.
By Friday, police stations across the country had received 50 guns while the Firearms Registration Bureau had received 64.
Members of Parliament, who will be hit worst by the crackdown, are up in arms, saying the move will leave them exposed to people who may want to harm or kill them.
Yesterday, the Nation reported that about half of all elected leaders who own guns have fake licences. Some of them are said to have been trying to reach out to the Interior ministry for intervention, but their requests have been flatly refused.
“Such declarations by the licensing board are unfair to us,” Majority Whip Ben Washiali said. “We have a history of MPs being killed by thugs, how much risk will they be faced with when everyone knows that they are not armed?”
On Friday, the IG warned those who passed the vetting that if they are found misbehaving with their guns, their licences will be cancelled immediately.
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