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Kenya steps up war on small arms

Thursday August 27 2009

A police fire brigade on stand by as some of  the 2,490 illegal fire arms go up in flames during a destruction exercise at Uhuru Gardens on. The Kenya government has started harmonising crime laws to boost the war on small arms. PHOTO/HEZRON NJOROGE

A police fire brigade on stand by as some of the 2,490 illegal fire arms go up in flames during a destruction exercise at Uhuru Gardens on. The Kenya government has started harmonising crime laws to boost the war on small arms. PHOTO/HEZRON NJOROGE 

By MATHIAS RINGA

The Kenya government has started harmonising crime laws to boost the war on small arms.

Solicitor-general Wanjuki Muchemi said the Organised Crime Bill, Terrorism Bill and International Crime Bill are being amended to help combat crime.

The changes include harsher penalties for illegal possession of guns, he said, adding that the amendments also seek to address the misuse of firearms by police officers.

Light weapons

“As a commitment to addressing transnational crime, much of which is fuelled by the easy availability of illegal small arms, the government is preparing the organised crime, terrorism and international crime laws,” said the solicitor-general.

He was officially opening a regional meeting on harmonisation of laws in Mombasa.

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Regional Centre on Small Arms (Recsa) executive secretary Francis Sang said there was need for member states to harmonise various national laws on crime to help address the proliferation of illicit arms and light weapons.

He said an audit conducted in nine Recsa countries indicated that member states had either weak or obsolete laws on weapons.

The harmonisation of legislation was identified as a necessary step towards tackling the rise in the number of illicit arms in the region, he added.

Mr Muchemi said: “Small arms continue to be a threat to peace, human security and development in the Great Lakes region, Horn of Africa and bordering states.

“Gains made in these areas are eroded by a seemingly unending flow of illegal arms in a region beset by conflicts.”