Uhuru gives Marsabit leaders ultimatum on peace
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed former National Assembly Speaker, Francis ole Kaparo, and Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji to mediate between the warring groups in Marsabit County and report back to him within a week. The President picked the two when he hosted leaders from communities in Marsabit County at State House for peace talks to end the crisis.
“My administration will not sit back and watch as insecurity reigns. It is your responsibility to ensure peace in the county,” the President told the leaders. He said the negotiations are the last chance his government was giving the leaders of Marsabit to end the conflict, saying the leaders cannot be allowed to continue bickering while citizens were losing lives.
The President assured the leaders that the government will provide an office and a secretariat to facilitate the negotiations. He warned that if the negotiations fail, all measures will be taken to ensure peace returns to Marsabit, including presenting a proposal to Parliament on how that should be done.
“But if you agree to end the conflict, the National Government will work out a plan to make Marsabit a model county,” President Kenyatta said. The President disclosed that Kenya has a Special Status Agreement for trade with Ethiopia but it cannot be actualised because of the conflict “not on the other side but on our side.”
He asked the leaders to put aside their differences and cultivate peace and security, saying “Kenyans voted for devolution for development not for killings.” “As we speak, a resolution has been passed that we deploy forces in the county,” the President said. Speaking during the meeting, Deputy President William Ruto emphasised that the government was doing its part on peace, but it is the leaders’ responsibility to ensure security is fully restored in the county.
He welcomed the leaders’ decision to be part of the solution instead of being the problem. “We have to work together in ensuring peace and stability reigns in our areas of jurisdiction,” the Deputy President told the leaders. Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani and Senator Godana Hargura thanked the President and Deputy President for working hard to end the challenges facing his county. Yattani assured the President and his Deputy that, as the governor of Marsabit, he was willing to sacrifice everything to bring peace in the county.
“I will heed whatever advice the President will give to ensure peace is restored in the county,” the governor said. Former legislator Jillo Falana agreed that leaders should stop trading accusations and come together to end the differences among the communities in Marsabit County. He said the people of Moyale want peace and requested that before the negotiations begin, the teams from all communities should visit the trouble hotspots to understand the issues involved. Earlier, President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto met leaders’ from Samburu County at State House Nairobi.
During the meeting, the President urged leaders at all levels to work closely with the government in boosting security. He emphasized that security was not only the responsibility of the government but also of the citizens. “Security is the responsibility of the government in collaboration with its citizens. That is why we are emphasising on the Nyumba Kumi security initiative,” President Kenyatta said. He asked the leaders to sensitise the Samburu community on the importance of surrendering all illegal firearms to the authorities, warning of an intensive operation if the 50 guns illegally acquired by bandits after the police attack at Lomerok in November 2012 are not returned.
The President urged the leaders to help in exposing criminals living among the community as the government steps up security measures in the county. Deputy President Ruto welcomed the Samburu leaders’ resolution to support the government in an operation to mop out illegal firearms in the county. He thanked the Samburu Community for overwhelmingly voting for the Jubilee government, saying work has started in earnest and after five years Kenyans will not regret having voted for the coalition. The leaders, led by Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal and Senator Sammy Leshore affirmed their support to the government as it moves to stamp out insecurity in the county. They thanked the government for the development projects that have been initiated and assured that they will work hand in hand to ensure the projects are fruitful.