By Abdullahi Hassan, Mandera.
Security top of the agenda as Jamhuri day is marked in Mandera
Mandera Governor Ali Roba said it was time Mandera residents said enough is enough and stood in unison against Al-Shabaab.
Speaking during Kenya’s 51st Jamhuri Day celebrations, the Governor started his speech by asking for a minute’s silence to remember the 64 innocent Kenyans killed by the terror outfit in cold blood within the span of a week.
Saying the terrorists were targeting the economy of the County, Mr. Roba singled out the education, health and construction sectors which are reeling from the effects of the attacks as non – locals working in the said areas have either fled the county or are asking for transfers.
“As we speak, more than 150 teachers have requested for transfer putting the sector in danger of possible closure of some schools. They have also killed medical personnel in order to cripple the healthcare sector and by so doing they have successfully managed to scare away medical personnel. As we speak, more than 53 medical personnel have either resigned or deserted their work stations leading to the closure of 20 medical facilities” said the Governor.
Mr. Roba gave a chronology of terror attacks in the County which he said clearly indicates that Al-Shabaab has no soft spot for any religion contrary to the impression they wanted to create when they separated victims along religious lines on both occasions.
“These attacks have changed its style and now they are brutally murdering Kenyans in the name of religion. They have killed 64 innocent Kenyans. What religion do they belong to? Are they really Muslims? Are those they killed in Mandera and Somalia over the years not Muslims? If what they are trying to make us believe is that they are fighting for an Islamic course then who were the more than 15 security officers they killed recently and burnt their bodies? Who were the two chiefs, shopkeepers and taxi drivers they have been killing? What about the many explosions that has killed thousands of Somalis in Somalia? Were they from any other religion? We cannot be fooled as Kenyans. We know your motives and we also know it has nothing to do with Islam. You want us Kenyans to fight each other in the name of the religion. We will not fall for that” said an agitated Roba.
Alluding to possible internal connection, Governor Roba said that all the attacks could not have been successful without the terrorists getting a helping hand from within.
“When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be because of enemies from outside but rather because of enemies from within – There is no enemy from outside that will succeed without the help of locals from Mandera” he added.
He said that Mandera residents should stop living in denial and face the reality that their children and families could be victims of radicalization and as a result aiding the terrorists.
“As the famous Somali saying goes – ‘when the tree was asked why is the axe so easily cutting you? the tree answered it is because a part of me is in the axe’ – so is our case in Mandera, the terrorists are succeeding because some of us are in it” he said.
The Governor condoled with those who lost their loved ones and called for cooperation and consultation between his administration and the national Government.
Elected leaders from the County met President Uhuru at State house, Nairobi over the terror attacks and thereafter embarked on a series of meetings with the youth, women, elders and other stake holders which culminated in a public baraza where ‘Operation Okoa Mandera’ was launched.
Governor Roba urged Mandera residents to re-assure their brothers and sisters from the rest of the Country and give them moral support as it was their responsibility to protect them.
“We know you understand that Kenyans have a right to live and work anywhere of their choice in this country and that is why there are traders from Mandera in every county in Kenya” he said.
“If you know your brothers from Mandera should be free to live and work in any county, then you should know that your brothers and sisters from the other counties have also the right to live and work in Mandera without any fear” he added.
He thanked the President and his deputy for their support of the County at this time of need.
The government sent a high level delegation to the County yesterday to assess the situation and come up with strategies that will see uninterrupted service delivery in the area.