Tana River ethnic clashes saddening; government should act fast
The ethic clashes that marred Tana River at the coast region of the country, and which left more than fifty people dead, scores of other injured and a whole village with more hundred houses burned down is something worth worrying about. Apparently, two communities in the area are fighting over grazing land and the heartrending act that happened yesterday could be a revenge attack from one of the communities. The communities say they are not going to relent in making sure they have their share, meaning they will be taking actions into their hands.
What makes things sadder is how such attacks were planned under the watch of the countrys intelligence service. Previous attacks had already been reported in the area and it was expected something worse could happen, particularly after the residents warned that they were not going to sit down and watch their community being molested. It was expected the government would act fast to protect and prevent these clashes from going on.
These clashes are also coming at the wrong time when the country is preparing for the general elections, with only seven months to. They also come at a time when Mps will be debating whether to extend the term of the National Cohesion and Integration commission, under the chairmanship of Mzalendo Kibunja. The clashes have brought back memories of the 2007-2008 post election violence with let more than one thousand people dead and many other displaced, and this is the last experience Kenyans would like to remember.
Watching our parliamentarian raise questions on this violence, with each of them blaming the government for failing to act also left me baffled, are they not part of the government? Defense minister, Yusuf Haji, who is also the acting internal security minister even, had the guts to stand on the floor of parliament and blamed the government for failing to tackle the issue while he holds the two key ministries that should be protecting the people of Tana River. If the same people in government continue blaming the same government for failing to protect its people, its just shows the lack of seriousness on the part of the government.
Allegations by some members of parliaments that these clashes could also be politically motivated should also not be taken lightly. It as always been a norm whenever elections are around the corner, a lot of ethnic clashes is always experienced.
Reports suggest that tension is still high in the region and the government should act to protect these clashes from extending to other parts of the coastal region. There are also reports that other clashes are being experienced among the Pokot and Turkana communities over natural resources, and also along our borders. The government should act fast and beef up security to ensure no more lives are lost.
Leaders who are found to be behind these attacks by using their political influence should face the law. Kenyans are tired of waking up every day to news of deaths and violence with leaders making blame games instead of working towards solving the problem and protecting the people they serve.
May the souls of the departed Tana River residents rest in eternal peace
Nixon Kanali, Nairobi