President Kenyatta on Wednesday presided over the burning of 5,144 illegal firearms as well as obsolete state-owned small arms and light weapons.
Speaking during the event at the Regional Traffic Police Training Centre in Ngong, Kajiado County, Uhuru urged anyone in possession of illegal firearms to submit them to the authorities under the Government’s amnesty programme and warned of dire consequences for those who will ignore the offer.
“An illegal gun makes you less safe, not more. An illegal gun, no matter your good intentions, makes you a criminal and liable to face the full force of the law,” President Kenyatta said.
He assured that the Government is ready at all times to address the security needs of all Kenyans, saying his administration has sustained a progressive reduction of crime in recent years saying, he sees no reason for people to own illegal guns or to take the law into their own hands.
In this regard, the President called on all Kenyans to let the authorities know about any information of illicit weapons in their communities.
“Such small efforts will bring peaceful days to you, your children, and your grandchildren in the future,” the President said.
At the same time, President Kenyatta warned that the Government will not tolerate leaders who fuel inter-clan conflicts and blame it on terrorism.
“We intend to fight and we have fought Al-Shabaab. But we do not and will never allow leaders and individuals to use the name of Al-Shabaab to continue inter clan animosities and conflicts,” the President said.
Uhuru underlined the importance of peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue, saying the Government is more than happy to engage all Kenyan citizens in such endeavours.
“A peaceful Kenya, a united Kenya is for the good of all of us. And that can only be achieved if we work together and find peaceful solutions through dialogue and through conversations which we, as a Government are more than happy to engage all Kenyan citizens.
“Because at the end of the day, the security of our nation is not just our collective responsibility but also our individual responsibility,” he said.
The President directed agencies that hold Government firearms to ensure strict accountability and proper management as well as control of the arms under their charge so as to guard against pilferage, diversion, and misuse.
He reiterated the Government’s commitment to continue weeding out illegal firearms saying, the state had a constitutional mandate to secure the lives of all Kenyans.
“By publicly destroying illicit weapons, Kenya once again openly demonstrates that we are determined and ready to face the challenges posed by small arms and light weapons,” the President said.
The President noted that Kenya’s recovery of illicit small arms and light weapons is in tandem with the Africa Union’s call for “Silencing the Guns in Africa’’ by the year 2020.
“Although the AU target has not been fully achieved by the deadline year, individual countries, Kenya included, have made excellent progress towards that goal,” the President said.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiangi said the destruction of the illegal firearms is further testament that the reforms initiated by President Kenyatta in the security sector were working.
Dr Matiang’i singled out the President’s multi-agency approach to the management of security, saying it had delivered commendable results within a short time.