Natembeya: Kibicho was the weak link in our fight against bandits
By Wanja Waweru
George Natembeya, a former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, has described the complexity that characterize the banditry threat in the Kenyan North and how senior government figures and well-known politicians have thwarted the fight against the criminal activities in the unrest-plagued area.
Politicians were the primary beneficiaries of the bandit operations that have cost hundreds of lives over the years, according to the former Rift Valley Commissioner who held the office for three years.
Natembeya, the current governor of Trans Nzoia, revealed the intricate details that characterize bandit activities. He expressed his dissatisfaction with trying to deal with the problem and revealed that “protected cartels” operating behind a cattle theft racket were in charge.
Mr. Natembeya exposed the lack of political will to address the threat that has killed hundreds of people over the years in Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Laikipia, Samburu, West Pokot, and Turkana due to his bosses ignoring crucial calls in times of need, budgetary restrictions, complicit and underpaid security officials, and well-connected politicians funding the criminals who have turned the Kerio Valley belt into killing and cattle raiding fields.
“I left Rift Valley frustrated, only the President was picking calls,” revealed the Trans Nzoia Governor, who fell short of revealing the identities of individuals behind the trade, noting that it was in public knowledge.
“It is not the work of the Regional Commissioner to make daily reports about how many people have been killed. PS Kibicho (Karanja Kibicho the former Interior Principal Secretary) never used to pick up calls. I only spoke to him twice in three years,” he said in the interview with NTV’s Fredrick Muitiriri.
“Those people never picked up calls. The PS then never answered my calls and all our pleas for resources were never met. Only the former President (Uhuru Kenyatta) used to pick up your calls. The rest never used to pick up calls, and never came there either. You are just on your own, no fuel, no allowances or food for the police officers,” he stated, revealing that his boss (PS) never visited the North Rift region during his tenure.
He claimed that the Sh900,000 he receives as RC every three months to cover the cost of petrol, vehicles, and other related logistics, which would run out in three weeks, serves as more evidence of the lack of support.
“That budget could not fund an operation for instance. The will was there, but there was no support, people didn’t pick up calls, so you are on your own,” he said.
He revealed how a planned operation never took off for lack of support, as the government failed to gazette it for legal protection.
“We were to be given fuel, it never happened, we were to be authorized to do so, it never happened. So the guns kept increasing till date,” he stated.
“I left Rift Valley a frustrated man. Even if it was not for politics, I would still have left,” he said.