KENYAN GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS MARSABIT CHAOS ONCE AND FOR ALL
The jubilee government led by President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking to stem the violence that has rocked Marsabit County. The county made headlines again after a new wave of violence that hit Moyale and parts of North Horr.
Last week, the president held a meeting attended by Borana leaders at state house, Nairobi. The president had earlier met with the same leaders in Mombasa. In attendance were other top government officials including house majority leader Adan Duale and senate majority leader Kithure Kindiki amongst others. The president had given the delegation an unprecedented five hours, clearing his schedule for much of the afternoon.
“The president is really focused on sorting out the mess in the county,” said our source, “he is keen on ensuring that the destruction of lives and property come to an immediate halt and those responsible be brought to book.” The president was reported to be furious at the events in the county and the inability of the leadership to bring the communities together.
The Booran delegation is led by former Saku MP Jarso Jillo as the chair. Others in the delegation include Minister Hassan Wario, Saku MP Dido Rasso, Moyale MP Roba Duba, Isiolo women representative Tiyya Galgallo, businessman Mohammed Chute amongst others.
A mediation effort by the other side was being led by the governor Ambassador Ukur Yattani, Senator Godana Hargura, women rep. Nasra Maalim amongst others.
The deputy president also held meetings with the two groups separately. “Our meeting with the deputy president was very fruitful”, said a member of the Booran delegation, “he is very well informed of the situation on the ground and is equally appalled by the county government’s casual way of dealing with the conflict. He assured us that the government will not turn a blind eye to the inequalities by the county government.”
The Deputy President also sent a very strong message to the county government in a televised interview. “The situation in Marsabit is unacceptable. The county government should either shape up or face the consequences.” Mr. Rutto said. Pressed to expound on what the consequences might be, he said that the government will use every instrument at its disposal, including the law, to deal with the county. He was referring to a section of the constitution that provides for the dissolution of a county government.
House and senate majority leaders did not mince their words either. In a joint press conference after the Mombasa meeting, the leaders threatened to start proceedings to dissolve the county government if the impasse continued.
These events however did not go down well with the county leadership which had severally claimed that the conflict is part of the jubilee government’s agenda to delegitimize them. The county leadership was also invited to the Mombasa meeting but they snubbed it and instead met with CORD leader Raila Odinga. In an equally strongly worded rejoinder, they condemned the jubilee government’s position and dared the government to dissolve the county government.
But the government is already moving to implement the issues that have been agreed on. The deputy President announced that food aid would be sent to the county.
“This is a very positive step,” said our source, “we have agreed on several points including immediate food aid to those displaced by violence and compensation to all whose houses had been burned down. The other agenda item is addressing the inequalities by the county government and we are still working on it.”
The leaders also faulted the CORD leadership for what they called ‘playing cheap politics’. In a statement they said, “Whereas the national government has committed itself to address issues’ affecting the county, the CORD leadership has not even once made an attempt to reconcile the warring communities. It is sad to see them play politics with the sorry state of affairs in our county.”
Several meetings have been scheduled as a follow-up to the earlier ones and the two sides are expected to sit down and chart a way forward. In the meantime, an uneasy calm has returned to the affected areas though life is nowhere near normal.
Ardajila will follow events closely and inform you as situations unfold themselves in the county.