By NJ Correspondent:
Residents of Wajir County’s Burmayo location are up in arms against years of neglect in the hands of both the national and county governments.
In a recent letter to the County Commissioner of Wajir and copied to the Regional coordinator and the Interior ministry headquarters, a copy of which Nep Journal has seen, elders from the location which lies in the border between Wajir and Mandera and bore the brunt of the past clan clashes pointed out wide ranging grievances and called for immediate government action.
Key amongst them, the elders said was having one “very ineffective, never available, and non-resident assistant chief” whom they said was previously posted to the area without local consultation.
“The said assistant chief was previously posted in the area without the wish of the people but since we are the minority in the constituency, our cry for justice and request for proper working system fell in deaf ears of the majority and their political leadership who only wanted nothing else but just a job for one of their own without considering performance, expectation and prosperity of the community living in the area” wrote the elders in their letter to the County administrator.
They said the assistant chief resides in Wajir town, 197km away from the location and only visits the area once in every four months.
Burmayo village was started in 1995 and got an assistant chief a year later. In 2004, the government advertised for the post of a Full Chief but the advert was cancelled in 2007 according to the elders.
They said it was re-advertised in 2012 but cancelled in 2014 before it was then re-advertised in June 2014 June and interested candidates applied for the post.
“All these was a scam to scare, silence and sideline the community through political interferences. To date we have no official communication on the result of the post of the chief; though rumors has it that the same assistant chief has been promoted to a full chief contrary to the community expectation and request” they said.
“As the community we are against the Promotion of this particular chief not for any other reasons but because he is unfit to hold office and discharge good governance, proper and just administrative system” they added.
The elders now want the government to cancel promoting of the assistant chief and “transfer him elsewhere where he can be supervised and reformed since he cannot hold and offer leadership and prosperity” to the locals.
Burmayo is prone to cross border attacks and raids executed by armed gangs, a situation the elders said calls for a full time, resident administrator with full knowledge and friendly relations with the community.
They however said as elders, they have stepped up to the vacuum created by the administrator’s absence.
Other than lack of proper government presence in the area, the elders said the community living in the area has borne the brunt of marginalization with no single employment opportunity for them in both the local and national governments.
“We are locked out of all development funds, contracts and bursaries among other opportunities since the community does not have political representation and influence in the sub-county” the elders told Nep Journal on condition of anonymity.
The location’s only school is under staffed and offers learning up to Class three. It also grapples with scarcity of water as the only borehole in the area is salty and unfit for human consumption forcing residents to trek to the nearby water source located in Dambas town, 110kms away.
It is estimated up to 2000 people live in the area and neighboring settlements.
Locals are also cut off from the larger Wajir County since there is no proper network coverage forcing them to travel for kilometers in search of a signal which is again accessed from tree tops.