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The War drums in Garissa county are loud and clear

Dr. M.Y. ELmi

A bloody Clan clashes between Awlian and Abutwaq is eminent and the war drums are now loud and clear, the war drums have been beating for a long time and have been just waiting for a small trigger action and reaction, which happen yesterday on 24 March 2014 in Shimberey of Dujis sub-location of Balambala constituency. It was alleged that goats belonging to a senior member of the Abutwaq clan were stolen by rustlers from Awlian clan. The Abutwaq clan in Shimberey in retaliation blocked the Main Garissa – Wajir highway and attacked a bus ferrying passengers to Wajir County which belongs to Awlian clan and injured few passengers. The highway which is the life line to counties of the former North Eastern and the Upper Eastern provinces was blocked for hours. Sabrin bus services, others passenger buses and other vehicles which were operating in Wajir -Garissa route had to look for an alternative route causing a lot of inconveniences and huge economic cost to both the passengers and the vehicle owners.

The most shocking of this incident was the Government response which according to an eye witness was conspicuously and depressingly absent. All the necessary authorities of security machinery in both levels of Government were informed and no action was taken. Thanks God nothing serious happened. If people were to take the law into their hands and decide to butcher each other, they will have done it without any interruption and the consequences would have been unnecessary lost of many lives like it happen in past in many parts of the county including Tana River and Kericho recently. In fact according to the eye witness there was police presence in Dujiis and they refused to accompany and provide escort to the Buses ferrying the Passengers from Wajir to Garissa.

Kenya has had its share of violence with huge consequences in human capital and socioeconomic sphere. North Eastern province had more than its share of social unrest and turmoil largely emanating from volatile political situation and completion for the scarce available community resources particularly during the dry or drought periods. Most of the tribal or clan violence are instigated by few heartless and selfish people who intend to gain politically or economically from these violence. These people are usually highly placed in the society and violence became their way of attaining impunity which insulates them from the law of the land. Murder, rape and destruction of property are crimes against humanity which are perpetuated by people using abstract entity like tribe or clan.

These criminals usually work in cohort with security personnel or people in authority who are constitutionally mandated to protect and safeguard the people and their properties. These people in authority instead of pursuing these criminals to justice, pursue the abstract entity called tribe or clan which is not a legal entity that can face justice and consequently the real criminals get away with their crimes and may even choose to continue to cause mayhem and attain their objectives which sometimes includes to climb the social ladder and became the protectors of the very people they maimed, killed their relatives and destroyed their properties.

The people of Kenya are spending substantial amount of money in the security system, yet clan, tribal or other criminal violence continues to happen without proactive mitigation. These clashes happen without any consequence to the security agencies and the people in authority who continue to draw fat salaries and allowance as violence continues unabated. The worst that could happen to the security and provincial administration personnel is transferring them from one station to another.

What is required urgently is total change of strategy and policies that will make every person particularly the security agencies responsible for their acts of commission and omission while discharging their responsibilities. The community must also cooperative with security agencies and the leadership to uphold rule of law and help fight any criminal activities in all its forms so that the society can develop to its full potential.

The people of Kenya need peace and development where ever and whoever they are. It’s the Governments cardinal responsibility to provide for these peace and development in an environment of tranquility. The Government has the means and resources to silence these drums of war in Garissa County and bring to account the people responsible for any criminal action that is likely jeopardize peace and security in the region.

The old time wasting and resource consuming technique of calling for clan reconciliation in endless meetings should cease and the security agencies should uphold their professional training in security management. I hope to see a new approach that is anchored in professionalism that will send a clear signal to all criminals, that time for impunity is over and gone forever.

Dr. Elmi is the Director of Garissa Campus, Mount Kenya University.

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