The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Godhana Counter-Accuses Haji Over Tana

Photo: Hezron Njorge/The Star
Galole MP Dhadho Godhana (right) addresses the press on the skirmishes in Tana River. With him is area youth leader Zedi Ali.

Livestock assistant minister Dhadho Godhana yesterday defended himself against claims he was linked to the Tana River violence that has killed more than 50 people. However, he pointed an accusing finger at Defence and acting Internal Security minister Yusuf Haji. "I am ready to be investigated but investigate the minister even more," Major (Rtd) Godhana said.

He claimed Haji has vested interests in the Tana Delta and should not arbitrate in the conflict. "I am calling on the President and Prime Minister and all other relevant investigating agencies of the state to investigate the role of Haji in the Tana conflict," Godhana said in Nairobi moments before flew with PM Raila Odinga to the clash-torn area.

Godhana said Haji has over the years been expanding the territory of his Ijara district into the Tana Delta. He claimed the minister's house, Yusuf Haji secondary school (named after him), Shurie secondary school (named after his father) and a host of other Ijara district offices are now in Tana River, instead of Garissa county. The Tana River deaths occurred when Pokomos attacked Ormas in their manyatta's, an attack triggered by a fight over pasture.

On Thursday, Haji told Parliament he had ordered the CID to investigate the assistant minister who found himself in trouble after he declined to attend a meeting convened to discuss the violence. Godhana, although claiming innocence, said he would not attend a meeting chaired by the minister whom he said was an interested party.

Those who attended the meeting at Harambee House included MPs Adan Duale, Adan Keynan, Abdikadir Mohamed, Mohamed Elmi, Maamud Mohamed, Mohamed Affey, Farah Maalim, Hassan Mohamed, Danson Mungatana, Mohamed Hussein, Adan Sugow, Abdi Sasura, Mohamed Nur and Yusuf Hassan. "I was involved in another meeting yesterday (Thursday) but even though I said and will repeat it a million times that I can attend a meeting chaired by Haji," Godhana said.

"I can only attend a meeting chaired by some one higher than the minister and myself." The MP said he had cut a short a trip to Tanzania and returned to meet Internal Security PS Mutea Iringo to warn him of the impending attacks when he received reports from locals. Coast PC Samuel Kilele announced yesterday that four chiefs in the clash-stricken areas of Tana River county have been sacked.

Five other people, from the Pokomo community, have been arrested in connection with the Tana Delta Wednesday morning massacre in which 53 people were killed. Kilele said Kilelengwani chief Abdalla Mohammed Kase, his assistant Ali Kalime Wario, Kau assistant chief Abae Mwanaiddi Omara and Ozi chief Abdalla Omari Hama have been relieved of their duties with immediate effect.

"They are guilty of complicity. So with immediate effect, I am sacking them," said Kilele. He said the chiefs knew about the planned dawn attack but did nothing about it. They are expected to be arraigned in court on Monday.

"These chiefs have to face the rule of law. They seem to be guilty of complicity. You see when you know something and you don't do anything to avert it then you are already guilty, unless you prove otherwise," said Kilele in his office yesterday afternoon.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims secretary general Adan Wachu condemned the attacks and urged authorities to move in and contain the situation. He said Supkem is planning a meeting with the locals to solve the dispute that had led to the attacks.

"We are going there and to Mandera to spearhead talks for peace to prevail," said Wachu. The chairman of National Cohesion and Integration Commission Mzalendo Kibunjia and some former MPs from the affected areas also attended the meeting. The leaders pledged to spearhead peace missions.

Yesterday, the Panel of Eminent African Personalities said it was shocked and outraged at the killing in Rikete village of more than 50 people, 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."

Residents of the affected Tana River area have started fleeing towards Magarini, Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa and other nearby districts for safety. Most are being hosted by relatives in different places in the Coast region.

"From Wednesday we have been transporting people from Tarasaa, Chara, Odha, Garsen and Kibisu. We have ferried so many old people, women and children," said Ali Cheupe, a driver who operates between Malindi and Garsen. He said that some matatu operators are charging exaggerated fares.

A mother of three, who sought anonymity, said that she was charged Sh500 instead of the normal Sh250 to Malindi. "Yesterday (Thursday) morning four people were killed in my village, Ngao, which is why I thought it wise for me to come to Malindi. I paid Sh500. Those who do not have the money are forced to remain there. Most of my fellow passengers have travelled to Mombasa," she said.

According to Magarini DC Richard Karani, several people have started to flock into the area.

"We have seen many people fleeing from Tana Delta to our district through Kanagoni which is our common border. Most of them are now with their relatives," he said.

He, however, said that they are not allowing those with cattle to cross into Magarini in order to curb possible conflict. Lamu DC Steve Ikua said they are hosting some of those fleeing in camps while others have joined their relatives. In Malindi, many refugees have been spotted at the Malindi District Hospital where most of the clash victims are admitted, Senior DO Cosmas Mwanzia said.

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