22 August 2012

Kenya: Police Blame Politicians for NEP Clashes

Police are now blaming the rampant killing of people in Mandera on incitement by local politicians.

Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino said they have intelligence reports indicating that local leaders are involved in fuelling inter-ethnic clashes that have left at least 10 people dead since Monday.

"The clashes in Mandera are especially as a result of the scramble for the newly created Mandera North district. We are getting to know the leaders who are supporting this. If any leader is involved then we are going to make an arrest very soon," he warned.

Five people were killed on Wednesday morning, in apparent retaliatory attacks following the deaths of five others on Monday.

Owino urged the local leaders to reconcile the two warring clans to curb any further animosity and violence.

The spokesman said anyone found inciting communities will be dealt in accordance with the law, particularly now that the country is preparing to hold a general election in March next year.

"We call upon all political leaders from this particular area to move from Nairobi, go to their regions and reconcile members of Garre and the Degodia communities. That must be done with immediate effect. We are not going to sit behind and see Kenyans die out of individual interests," he asserted.

Speaking at the same briefing on media monitoring, Public Communications Director in the Ministry of Information Mary Ombara also cautioned Kenyans against misinterpreting establishment of devolved government.

She said some Kenyans had perceived that establishment of county governments meant that people should go back to their ancestral homes.

Ombara advocated for Kenyans to understand that it is about decentralising resources and not displacing people.

She also expressed worries that the idea of a devolved government is yet to make sense to many Kenyans with few months to the general elections.

Ombara called for increased awareness campaigns to ensure Kenyans do not use counties as platforms for ethnic hatred.

"We are convinced that part of the problem is that the residents own the county, a perception fed by media stories and the political leadership that emphasise on a return of leaders to their county of birth to seek leadership positions," she said.

On Tuesday, a section of leaders from North Eastern province blamed tribal clashes in Ethiopia for the ongoing conflict in northern Kenya.

Led by Mandera West MP Mohamed Mahamud, the group argued that Ethiopian problem was spilling over into the country, increasing the need to tighten security along the border.

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