15 November 2012

Kenya: Army Solution Is Only Short-Term


THE parliamentary Defence committee has said it does not approve of the deployment of the army in Baragoi. On Tuesday President Kibaki ordered the army to move in and deal with the killers of 42 policemen on Saturday.

The MPs are understandably concerned that there could be a repeat of the human rights abuses by the army in Mount Elgon in 2008. The raiders in northern Kenya are a far more formidable force that the Sabaot Land Defence Force.

It is probably impossible to militarily defeat the armed pastoralists. A full scale confrontation between the army and armed pastoralists could become very bloody.

Nevertheless government cannot ignore the death of 42 policemen in a single ambush by the Turkana. The army had to be sent in to restore law and order.

But this can only be a short-term solution, especially since northern Kenya is likely to become an oil belt that could turn into another Niger Delta.

Government needs to star working on disarmament of pastoralists by mutual agreement. The border will need to be protected to stop raids by the Karimojong from Uganda. And there will need to be clear incentives, both financial and social, to voluntarily hand over guns.

Quote of the day: "Where laws end, tyranny begins." - British statesman William Pitt the Elder was born on November 15, 1708

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