The government finally heeded calls to end the violence in the Kerio Valley, where gun-wielding criminals have for the past 10 months caused death and mayhem.
Deputy President William Ruto kept his promise to return to the volatile Kerio Valley on Monday to commission an integrated police reservists programme as part of the government’s commitment towards fixing the runaway insecurity.
Mr Ruto, who was accompanied by Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet, addressed a closed door security meeting at Chesongoch Sisters’ Convent before commissioning 230 police reservists who were issued with firearms and uniforms at Chesongoch Catholic Church.
None of the politicians who were present attended the security meeting at the convent. Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen and former MP Linah Kilimo were not allowed in.
After the meeting, Mr Ruto told residents, who had gathered outside Chesongoch parish, that he was not on a political mission but rather, a security affair.
According to the DP, the reservists will be paid and trained to undertake their tasks of complementing the National Police Service.
The Deputy President said the volatile Kerio Valley would be under one police command, and the single commander will be answerable to the highest authorities.
The command will easily access a military chopper whenever required for rapid police response and the region will have an additional armoured police carrier, said the Deputy President.
Mr Ruto added that victims would be compensated and given relief food.
“I will be back to assess the situation. The measures we have put in place will ensure that there is lasting peace and a solution to the insecurity perpetuated by criminal elements,” said the DP before he flew out.
The response comes after the Opposition and the civil society joined calls for President Kenyatta to personally take charge of the situation in Kerio Valley.
Mr Ruto’s tour of the region on Friday was characterised by ugly incidents, including disruption of his visit in Baringo after cattle rustlers fired in the air, coupled with the killing of a chief in the same region.
Mr Ruto also toured parts of Baringo North where he declared the insecurity prone areas of Baringo South and North sub-counties disturbing as he launched a massive operation to flush out bandits.
Speaking at Kipsaraman in Baringo North on Monday, the DP ordered that all illegal herders who had invaded the region, causing mayhem, be flushed out immediately.
Mr Ruto said the volatile areas had been gazetted as disturbed areas and massive crackdowns would be carried out.
“We want all those displaced persons to be back in two weeks’ time,” said Mr Ruto, adding that more than 381 officers had been deployed for the crackdown that was starting yesterday night.