Vigilante groups opposed

The Chairman of Nyumba Kumi Initiative (NKI), Joseph Kaguthi has opposed renewed calls to form vigilante groups in certain parts of the country, terming them as ill advised.

Kaguthi who also chairs the National Committee on Citizen Participation (NCCP) was reacting to calls by a section of Nyumba Kumi clusters in Nairobi and other parts of the country who are calling for revival of the banned village-based outfits to supplement security agencies’ policing work.

The former Provincial Administrator said the NCCP had visited twelve sub counties in Nairobi where officials of NKI claimed that they were not receiving enough cooperation from policing agencies, leading to a surge in lawlessness and criminal activities.

Speaking to KNA in Nakuru on Sunday, Kaguthi observed that vigilante groups though formed with good intentions ended up being infiltrated with criminals posing a bigger security threat.

We learnt from officials of Nyumba Kumi clusters that they were keen to have rag tag outfits revived to conduct patrols and enforce law and order. This will defeat the purpose of Nyumba Kumi initiative and illegally open avenue of harassment and extortion of citizens by criminal elements who are not accountable to anybody, he said.

Kaguthi said the NCCP was working closely with various law enforcement and security agencies and Nyumba Kumi officials to ensure that they supplemented each other and operated harmoniously to protect the rule of law.

He affirmed that vigilante groups were prone to being misused by powerful individuals hence defeating the very purpose of ensuring law and order.

Currently it may sound a good idea for Nyumba Kumi initiative officials to oversee revival of these vigilantes in their respective areas. In the long term, the gangs will mutate and will no longer take instructions from Nyumba Kumi officials. It is akin to sharpening an axe that will be used against you in future, he stated.

Kaguthi however, maintained that, the Nyumba Kumi initiative remained the best placed at ensuring law and order at the grassroots levels as they interacted directly with local communities and received timely updates on criminal activities.

The chairman challenged the community policing officials and residents to embrace technology and share on social media platforms information on criminal activities and suspected goons for appropriate action.

Most of the officials of Nyumba Kumi informed the NCCP that they had witnessed criminal activities especially looting and destruction of private property in the past several weeks. They should actively play their role by reporting such criminals and providing photographic evidence if possible, he added.

Kaguthi also said he was disturbed by the high number of youths involved in criminal activities that had led to loss of lives and destruction of property.

He advised the youth against violently engaging and provoking armed security personnel on official duty.

He appealed to politicians to desist from engaging the youth in acts of violence and lawlessness which mostly spilt over to innocent citizens and private property.

The law allows a police officer to use live ammunition when protecting property and lives of other citizens. When under threat he may be compelled to shoot. However, we also know that all security personnel are obligated to use their firearms responsibly and within the confines of the law, he noted.

Kaguthi said a disturbing trend where youth in certain parts of the country had become emboldened to attack security officers and invade police stations had to be stopped as it demonstrated unprecedented impunity. He termed this as primitive.

The Chairman took issue with political leaders who were defending criminal elements engaged in acts of arson, destruction of property and looting, saying that it demonstrated insincerity and immaturity.

He said: These individuals protecting goons breaking law and order do not deserve to be called leaders. We urge them to be role models and promote social cohesion and peaceful co-existence.

The NCCP Chairman noted that it was the social duty of every citizen to participate in and promote peace as a way of ensuring harmonious existence amongst Kenyans.

It is everybody’s obligation to report any suspected criminals or unlawful activity to security enforcement agencies. You can call the emergency numbers 999, 911, and 112. You can also send anonymous alert toll free stating your county on 22068, he said.

He appealed to all Kenyans to work with the National Police Service and officials of NKI in their respective areas in reporting any incidents.

Source: Kenya News Agency