By George J Nyangweso, MN
A few years ago then President of Kenya Daniel Arap Moi set ablaze thousands of elephant tusks simply to demonstrate to the international community that he was committed to the war against wildlife poaching in Kenya and Africa. Although the donor community may have been impressed, it is not clear whether this single action deterred the poachers from continuing with the trade. Suffice it to say there was evidence that top government officials were indeed the fuel behind this lucrative trade.
Recently the Kenya government was at it again, but this time the Kenya Police was torching thousands of guns comprising the popular kalashnikov, the bulky AK 47 and pistols of all calibers. It was reported that these guns had been seized from criminals who were either killed or arrested in various incidents. What was not clear was how many lives these guns had claimed. It may be recalled that there have been unconfirmed reports for years that guns known to be in police custody have been loaned to criminals who use and return the same to the police.
It is against this background that when Finance Minister Kimunya recently visited Minnesota and proudly announced that as a sign that the Kenyan government was fighting crime they had recently set thousands of guns ablaze, that one could not help wonder who the legal advisers to the Kenya government are. Such an announcement made in USA where the science of forensics is so advanced struck some of those present as embarrassing and a display of ignorance by our own Finance Minister.
Ballistic fingerprinting, a sub-category of firearms examination, is a forensic method that is intended help to find the gun that was used in a crime by matching the bullet’s striations (or striae) with the rifled barrel through which it was fired, or by matching marks on the cartridge case to marks in the chamber and breech. The technique is part of the science of forensic ballistics, and it is an application of tool-mark identification. Also referred to as ballistic fingerprinting, a comparison to the use of fingerprints in forensics. The Kenya Police can not claim they are not familiar with this arm of forensics which is indeed the less sophisticated technique in this fast growing field of science
Many Kenyans have lost their lives through these guns and their loved ones may never know who the killers were and whether they have or will ever be brought to book.
The government it seems was more interested in the publicity rather than bringing to justice the criminals or to assure the bereaved citizens that no stones will be left unturned until justice is done. Kenyans have been gullible for too long and must now rise and demand accountability from all sectors of their government.
It is curious that legal bodies such as the Law Society of Kenya have remained mum over such a travesty of Justice.
The writer is not a legal expert but more familiar with science.