Kenyans should take collective responsibility for violence in Tana Delta
The Violence in Tana Delta has become the latest impious stain in the moral and religious fabric of the nation and seems to happen almost with a casual connotation.
Apart from the brutal attacks in Tana River, flare-ups have been experienced in Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Parts of Turkana and Pokot.
This trend of events comes in the wake of the 2007/ 2008 post election violence that made us all reconfigure our conviction of the strength in the unity we enjoy right now. Even legislators do not have any confidence in the security forces in the country, especially the police to deliver their mandate of securing the property and lives of every Kenyan.
During Wednesday’s parliamentary debate on a motion to urge the government to use the Kenya defense Forces to end the violence in Tana Delta, many legislators alluded to Mount Elgon where in 2008 KDF was sent in to flush out the Sabaot Land Defense Force. Innocent civilians were allegedly physically abused, especially women who are most at risk during violence either caused by the oppressors or the authorities.
Going by the words of deputy police spokesman Charles Owino, the police have not yet taken any decisive action in the hotspots in the country; including the Tana delta since they are afraid of vilification by tribunals.
Owino Monday told journalists that the civil society took Major General Husein Ali to The Hague in Netherlands and they were not going to allow the same to happen to his successor, Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere.
The police have therefore asked President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Cabinet to provide a clear guideline on the kind of operation that is supposed to be conducted to stop the violence in Tana Delta.
Amidst the logistical jigsaw that makes the police seemingly unable to use requisite force to stamp the government’s authority against illegal militias, the question of police ability to investigate and prosecute is still an impediment to the efficient operation of the force.
Police have in the past been accused of extrajudicial killings against innocent and sometimes unarmed civilians in their use of force in delivering on their duties.
However, at the same time, the other side seems to be winning in the midst of this dilemma considering the violence that has gone almost unabated in Tana River just days after spontaneous violence hit parts of Mombasa following the assassination of Muslim cleric Sheikh Aboud Rogo.
The politics behind the displacement of people in the Tana Delta is also a reason to further question the sincerity of politicians in their commitment to peace before, during and after the March 4, 2013 elections.
This penchant for violence in the country has been fought by those opposed to it including the civil service, security forces and other government agencies.
Mobile phones and the internet have even been used by those bent on causing unrest to fan violence or the potential thereof by instigating ethnic hatred.
For this reason, text messages from mobile devices are being monitored by the security agencies with the help of telecom service providers.
Monitoring for messages of incitement to violence has now taken to the internet with social media users being put on the watch list following the alleged role that Twitter played in fanning the violence in Mombasa. Bloggers too have not been spared and are being watched keenly on what has become a tightening security situation in the internet in Kenya.
At the end of the day, the surest way to avoid all this scrutiny and suspicion is for Kenyans to simply shun violence and start punishing those who prefer otherwise by prosecuting them. Stop the violence in Tana Delta now!