The National Assembly’s departmental committee on administration and internal security has announced plans to classify banditry under acts of terrorism.
The committee said the move will be to help find better and efficient ways of eradicating the vice which has become increasingly rampant in part of the Rift Valley region.
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Speaking during a visit to Elgeyo-Marakwet county the committee chairperson and Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo noted that the team will recommend an amendment to the anti-terrorism law to include banditry in a bid to escalate the war against the decades long menace.
“We are in the process of compiling our report after today’s visit. We have so far visited the six counties prone to banditry and witnessed firsthand the effects of the decades long menace. We shall be making a recommendation that banditry be treated as an act of terror to curb impunity,” Tongoyo said.
Tongoyo was echoing the sentiments of Elgeyo-Marakwet governor Wisley Rotich who made the proposal to the Committee. Governor Rotich observed that banditry which was initially regarded as a cultural sport has degenerated into a full-blown criminal activity with many casualties.
He told the lawmakers that while many security operations had been carried out in the area for years, they had not yielded much, and the vice had only escalated leaving many dead and impoverishing his County residents.
“Many people have in the past regarded banditry as a cultural sport. It has however resulted to many deaths, more than terrorism has done. Why would Parliament not classify it as an act of terrorism yet it has the same impact?” Governor Rotich said.
He lauded the Committee for taking the initiative to get to the root-cause of increased insecurity in the region and gave his committment to support any Parliamentary resolutions geared towards building peaceful coexistence among communities living in the Northrift Region.
He called for affirmative action to enhance literacy levels within the areas prone to cattle rustling as a means to systematically eliminate the practice from the Region. He noted that efforts to support education initiatives in West-Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet had yielded fruits leading to a significant decrease in the number of young people who want to join the trade.
The governor further recommended that the government embraces the same for Tiaty Constituency in Baringo County whose residents he attributed the increased insecurity in the region.