Deputy President William Ruto has asked leaders to stop politicizing issues of security along the Kerio Valley.
Mr Ruto said leaders should work together in confronting insecurity challenges occasioned by banditry and cattle rustling incidents instead of introducing politics into such matters.
Addressing wananchi on Monday at Chesongoch Catholic Church grounds in Elgeyo Marakwet County after inaugurating the first group of 200 newly recruited police reservists, Mr Ruto asked politicians to stop taking the plight of those suffering in an attempt to score cheap political goals.
He said politicising security issues could affect restoration of peace among communities in the region.
“Leaders should take a stand that will help bring peace in this region instead introducing cheap politics into such issues,” said Mr Ruto.
“We should be part of the solution to the insecurity problem in this area and not part of the problem,” added Mr Ruto.
He was accompanied by MPs Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East), William Kisang (Marakwet West), William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Dr Susan Chebet (Women Rep), Governors Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Inspector of Police Joseph Boinett and former MP Linah Kilimo.
At the same time, Mr Ruto, announced that Kerio Valley belt will be gazetted as dangerous area for a security operation to flush out cattle rustlers and criminals who were killing people.
Mr Ruto said the Government would protect police officers discharging their duties in accordance with the law against outside interference.
“I want to assure our security officers that the Government will solidly stand behind them in protecting the lives and property of Kenyans,” said Mr Ruto.
He said more security camps would be established in Kapkobil, Kabetwa, Murkutwo and Kaben among other areas that had witnessed cattle rustling incidents.
The Deputy President said the Kerio Valley belt that covers parts of Baringo North Marakwet and Pokot would be gazetted as a dangerous and disturbed area to pave way for security operations in the region to curb cattle rustling.
Mr Ruto said the operation begin immediately and under one command.
“Those who have crossed over to neighboring counties or sub counties and displaced it’s owners will be driven back to their homes,” said Mr Ruto.
He added: “We will not allow other people to raid others’ homes and occupy them in the pretense of searching for pasture.”
The Deputy while in Kipsaraman in Baringo North Constituency witnessed the swearing in of 151 police reservists who will join 100 Security officers from regular police administration police and rapid deployment unit.
He said Sh 100 million would be set aside to compensate those who lost livestock in the region during the recent cattle rustling incidents
Mr Ruto who also addressed another security meeting in Arabal in Baringo South Constituency said any criminal who has weapons, steal cattle and kill innocent women and children must face the full force of the law.
“With the ongoing recruitment of more police reservists, it is now clear that we have stepped up efforts aimed at curbing crime and ending the practice of cattle rustling which has no room in this 21st century” said Mr Ruto.
The Deputy President asked wananchi in the region to join the Government in community-policing programme.
He said while the Government was beefing up security, wananchi had a duty to report criminals in their midst to the authorities.
“Those who have made cattle rustling as their source of income should find something else to do, as those caught risked long jail terms. We have already arrested 25 cattle rustlers and their cases are on,” said Mr Ruto.
He said Sh 5million will be allocated to secondary school as fees for pupils whose parents lost their livestock to cattle rustlers.
Mr Boinett said he was optimistic that the newly recruited police reservists will help complement the work of other security officers in the region.
“I am confident that these police reservists will help other security personnel in confronting the challenge of cattle rustling as they well understand the area,” said Mr Boinett.