Friday, 24 August 2012

AU Calls for speedy probe into ethnic clashes in Kenya

By Peter Mutai, Fabian Mangera and Stephen Ingati
Galole MP Godana:Wants Haji to be investigated
Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The African Union panel which mediated Kenya's 2007/2008 post election violence has called for speedy investigations into the tribal clashes in southeast
part of the country that has so far claimed 50 lives.

In a statement issued on Thursday in Nairobi, the AU Panel of Eminent African Personalities said it was shocked and outraged at the killing on Wednesday in Riketa village of
more than 50 Kenyans, a majority of whom were women and children. "In condemning the brutal attacks, we condemn in equal measure the clashes which occurred in Kau
and Kilelengwani villages during the previous week in which more than 15 Kenyans died," the statement said. Tension and rivalry that resulted into the Wednesday's violent
clashes between Pokomo and Orma communities have been ongoing for decades and this also resulted in last week's dispute that left at least two people dead.

While Pokomo accuse the Orma of allowing livestock to encroach on their farms and of destroying their crops, the Orma complain that Pokomo farmlands are too close to the
banks of the Tana River and prevent the herders from using the river to water their cattle. The statement came a few hours after Acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji
ordered the country's police to probe an Assistant Minister for Livestock Development Dhadho Godhana over possible complicity in the killings in Tana River County.Haji told
an attentive Parliament on Thursday that the Godhana who comes from the region had snubbed a peace meeting which he had called earlier in the day with all leaders from the affected areas to resolve the perennial conflict.

The minister said the assistant minister had vowed never to attend all peace meetings convened by the government and could thus not establish behind his boycott of peace
meetings. Haji said the government will conduct countrywide operation to disarm all communities with illegal arms after a spate of insecurity in northern Kenya and southeast
parts of the East African nation once a beacon of peace in the region. He however did not state when the exercise would begin and how long it would take. "The government
will investigate the genesis of the current conflict and legal action be taken against inciters and rumour mongers to ensure that law and order is maintained," Haji told
journalists after holding talks with both current and former lawmakers, local leaders and senior security officers from the affected regions in Nairobi.The minister said the
government has opened police posts in the hotspot areas across the counties to address issues of insecurity and will also provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of
the conflict. "Leaders must sustain and intensify the peace process in the affected areas. The area Members of Parliament will lead the process," he said.

 In its statement, the AU Panel expressed its sincere condolences to the bereaved families stressing that perpetrators of such violence must be swiftly brought to justice, lest
"impunity sow the seeds for future attacks". The Panel said the murder of Kenyans by other Kenyans is a national tragedy and demanded urgent attention of the Coalition
government, not only to restore security, but also to address the underlying inter-communal tensions over natural resources, which lie at the heart of the conflict."In this
connection, we welcome the resolve of the two Principals to use the full resources at the disposal of the government to bring an end to violence and insecurity in the area, "
said the Panel whose chairman is ex-UN chief Kofi Annan.It said the events of the last two weeks in Tana River County underscore the importance of augmenting efforts to
promote national unity and reconciliation throughout the country.

Analysts say Kenya faces real risk to stability from challenges related to constitution implementation particularly a contested devolution system; tensions and divisions
spawned by the dynamics of tackling the entrenched culture of impunity relating to the 2007/08 post polls violence ahead of the first general election under the new legal
regime in March 2013.  The country also faces challenges related to resurgence of militias such as the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) and the potential threats they
posed to the forthcoming elections and the internal risks to stability posed by Kenya's external war on the Al-Shabaab in Somalia. The analysts say the intense ethnicisation of
politics on the road to the 2013 elections is exacting its toll on pre-election stability environment.

Meanwhile, a curfew has been imposed in Wajir town after a man was stabbed to death and two others seriously injured on Thursday in renewed inter-clan violence in
northern Kenya. During the latest clashes, several structures were burned that also left property of unknown value destroyed. Residents said the violence broke out when
thugs suspended to be members of the Degodia community raided one home of a member of the Garee clan, a few kilometres north of Wajir town with swords.Wajir District
Commissioner Kihara Ndung'u confirmed the incident but said peace has been restored in the restive town.  Ndung'u said the curfew has been imposed in the town as
residents' fear of further retaliatory attacks on Thursday night.

Both Garre and Degodia have communal presence and have sophisticated armed militia in Ethiopia who has been used in clan fighting in the Horn of Africa country. The
fighting pitting the pastoralists Somali sub-clans of Garre and Degodia reignited on Monday after suspected Garre clan militia believed to have crossed from the neigbouring
Ethiopia killed 6 people, wounded 3 others and escaped with 500 herds of cattle after they raided a Degodia village in Banisa district in Mandera West constituency

Meanwhile Yvonne Moraa adds that the Assistant Minister for Livestock and MP for Galole Mr Dhadho Godana whom acting Security Internal Minister Mr.Yusuf Haji has called for his investigation for Tana Rive skirmishes that has left over people dead has at a press conference in the Kenyan capital,Nairobi on Friday,August 24 called  also for probing of Haji by Police over the TanaRiver killings.

The MP said he was ready to present himself to security agencies if called but maintained that Haji who is a former long serving Provincial Administrator had a lot of interests in the now volatile county while he himself comes from the neighboring Garrisa county.

Godana said that he was a peace loving man and his record in the Kenyan military for 20 years where he served in the peace keeping mission in Yugoslavia speaks for itself.


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