Interior CS Matiang’i warns AU States over guns trade
George Kebaso @Morarak
The Africa Union (AU) was yesterday on the receiving end for taking a soft stand on Kenya’s neighbours, involved in the illicit arms that find their way into the country.
Subsequently, Kenya has warned her neighbours involved in the illicit arms trade of dire consequences.
Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS), Fred Matiang’i stated that Kenya respects the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States.
However, he warned that the country’s respect for international conventions , should not be exploited by neighbours and individuals out to engage in illegal fire arms trade at the expense of safety of innocent Kenyans.
“We have done a lot of public relations on this thing of proliferation of illegal fire-arms for a long time.
This notion of Kenya being called upon to play big brother in order to make certain concessions will not be entertained anymore,” the CS said last evening at a Nairobi hotel, where he launched a ceremony for the September AU amnesty month on voluntary surrender of illicit firearms.
On April 21, 2004 nine member States including Kenya agreed on the protocol, which came into force on May 5, 2006 after Somalia joined in 2005, as a legally binding instrument.
The countries included; Burundi, DRC, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Matiang’i further warned that Kenya is not going to be taken around the circles at the expense of security. Not anymore, he asserted.
“Let us be truthful to each other, instead of hiding in the blanket of diplomacy,” he said addressing a delegation from AU’s Regional Centre on Small Arms which hosted yesterday’s meeting. The centre assists member States in implementing the protocol.
Matiang’i said Kenya is keen on arresting proliferation of firearms in the hands of illegal holders through tightening of licensing regime.
He said the government, is going to be more ruthless to foreigners and countries that are trafficking illegal arms.