Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Dr Fred Matiang’i has directed National Government Administrative Officers (NGAOs) to launch a ruthless operation in the Central Kenya region to crush criminals and cartels involved in coffee theft by the end of this year.

Dr Matiang’i ordered this while addressing security chiefs from central Kenya in Nyeri today.

“We have received so many complaints from cooperative societies and individual farmers; it’s clear this epidemic has reached chronic proportions, and we can no longer make excuses in addressing this and other contextual security issues,” Dr. Matiang’i stated.

Matiang’i that some of the heists are inside jobs, hence directed security chiefs to profile cooperative societies in their respective areas of jurisdiction and smoke out all criminals masquerading as coffee farmers.

In 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed a 19-member National Task Force on Coffee Sub-Sector Reforms to investigate problems in the coffee sector. However, the task force hasn’t been able to make major strides with residents in Central Kenya still reporting cases of coffee theft every month.

Nyeri County alone loses more than Ksh100 million annually to cartels masquerading as common thieves who raid factories at night.

In 2016, the President established the Coffee Sector Implementation Committee meant to align the sector’s regulations with the Constitution, the Crops Act and the functions of the county government so as to provide protection of the growers’ rights along the entire value chain. Similarly, little has been achieved through this.

In August, thieves made away with Ksh2.6 million coffee berries from Kianderi Coffee Factory in Kahuro subcounty, Murang’a.

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Dr Matiang’i called for more cooperation among NGAOs in in the task and warned them against dereliction of duty. He said that those underperforming will be winnowed out and action taken against them.

“We are investigating some of our officers, and stern action will be taken against them if found culpable,” he said.

He also urged them to sustain the war against the consumption of illicit brews and decapitate the supply chain of bhang and other drugs in the region and be vigilant against exam malpractices.

“We are a responsible Government and we will not leave anything to chance when it comes to delivering clean examinations,” he reiterated.

He added that all the Assistant County Commissioners (ACCs) and Chiefs across the country will undergo mandatory paramilitary training in the next six months to help them coordinate effectively the functions of the National Government at the grassroots.

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