President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday announced a moratorium on scrap metal trade in the country as part of Government efforts to end the rising cases of vandalism of key public installations.
The President said the moratorium will stay in place until after the Government puts in place adequate measures to effectively police the sourcing, trade and export of scrap metal warning that those found culpable for vandalism of state infrastructure will be dealt with firmly.
While referring to recent vandalism of electricity transmission infrastructure, the Standard Gauge Railway and communication masts, President Kenyatta termed the acts as economic sabotage saying the Government won’t tolerate the destruction.
“The law is clear. These acts are nothing less than economic sabotage which fall under treasonable acts and the law is clear as to how we deal with treasonable acts. We will not allow you to destroy that which is for the growth and development of our country to benefit a few individual pockets,” President Kenyatta cautioned.
Scrap Metal Council (SMC), under the Ministry of Industrialization is in charge of regulating export and other dealings in scrap metal. Cofek is a member and chairs the Technical Committee of the SMC whose responsibilities include licensing.
Other members of the SMC include National Police Service, Kenya Revenue Authority, Ministry of Transport, Kenya Power and Kenya Association of Manufacturers. Other include the Kenya Scrap Metal Association as well as the Cottage Industry Association.
At the same time, the President reminded the police to execute their constitutional mandate of safeguarding the wellbeing of Kenyans and their property without “fear, favour or intimidation from any quarters”.
President Kenyatta spoke at the National Police College, Kiganjo in Nyeri County, where he presided over the passing out parade of 298 direct entry inspectorate cadet officers who graduated after a 9-month course.
The new police officers, 220 male and 78 female, form the largest cohort of direct entry inspectorate cadet officers to have been trained by the country since independence, and were recruited as part of the ongoing security sector reforms.
As part of the broad reforms, the President noted that 35,400 new officers had joined the National Police Service during his tenure saying, the rise in the numbers of security personnel was a retooling of the security sector so as to make Kenya a more secure and peaceful nation.
“Adding today’s numbers, the total number of police officers commissioned under my administration stands at Thirty Five Thousand and Four Hundred (35,400).
“This occasion is a highlight of the remarkable transformation we have continued to make in the tooling and retooling of our security organs, as we seek to solidify their capacity to make Kenya a secure and peaceful nation,” the President said, and assured of Government’s commitment to accelerate the reforms.
“This noble agenda has been realized through an acceleration of security sector reforms, enhanced resourcing and modernizing of the National Police Service in an effort to make it well prepared and resourced in surmounting the dynamic existential and emerging security challenges”.
Regarding police welfare, the President said his administration had initiated a comprehensive medical insurance cover to benefit National Police and Kenya Prisons Service officers and their dependants.
Similarly, President Kenyatta said the Government had re-engineered police accommodation by introducing rental house allowances.
“These are two of the many initiatives my administration has put in place to bolster the welfare of our police,” President Kenyatta said, and directed the Inspector General of Police to ensure the soon-to-be-unveiled National Police Leadership College becomes a constituent college of the National Defence University of Kenya.
As part of his engagements at the National Police College, the Head of State opened the new leadership complex at the institution.
In his remarks, Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i said with the graduation of the 298 officers, President Kenyatta had achieved a historic feat as it marks the first time since independence that Kenya had successfully trained directly admitted police cadets.
“This is in line with the plan that you gave the country when you came to office of moving our National Police Service to global standards in terms of its capacity and its performance,” Dr Matiang’i said.
Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and his deputy Edward Mbugua also spoke at the event that was attended by senior Government officials as well as Uganda’s Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs Vincent Ssempijja.