Ruto orders police to end clashes in Eastern region
President William Ruto yesterday directed security apparatus in the Lower Eastern region to immediately address insecurity on Kitui-Tana River border that has in the recent past caused loss of lives and property.
The insecurity concerns involve the native Kamba community in Mutha, Kitui South constituency and Somali camel herders who are said to have crossed the borderline invading the farms and grazing area.
This comes at a time when two people are said to have been killed and one is recuperating from gunshot injuries at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) following a clash between locals and camel herders at Mutha.
Speaking during a thanksgiving church service at Kitui town yesterday, Ruto ordered the regional police commander and the regional commissioner to get boots on the ground to restore sanity in the semi-arid area.
“I am asking the eastern region commander, the issues of insecurity that I have heard here from leaders, that my friend, you have no excuse. I have given you your money, and that job must be done. County commissioner and regional commissioner, don’t wait for the Cabinet Secretary because that is a job equal to you. We want peace restored in that area immediately,” said Ruto.
He said police had an independent budget following an executive order he inked immediately after taking an oath of office last month.
“Security issue is very key because without peace children cannot go to school, and people cannot go to work. And that is why I ordered the police to have their own independent budget to deliver without any excuse. I said the police budget should be in the hands of the Inspector General of Police so that ours will be to demand for work,” said Ruto.
Kitui Governor Julius Malombe said insecurity concerns affected six wards in the vast county, saying there was a need for a clear cutline between Kitui and Tana River. He said his administration would finance the cutline to have a clean borderline and have police stations in each of the six wards.
And the Head of State said that his administration will ensure that the police stations along the cutline, once constructed will be equipped with adequate officers and other necessary resources.
Malombe further revealed that he had initiated talks with his Tana River counterpart Godhana Dadho and leaders from the two counties were purposed for a crisis meeting.
Local leaders had decried increased insecurity in Kitui South following the invasion of camels guarded by armed herders.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said that the Government was rolling out an elaborate plan to end the intercommunity clashes in the area adding that insecurity incidents will be dealt with once and for all.
Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai hit the first salvo saying an operation to restore peace in the border constituency suffered logistical frustrations calling on the government to intervene and end the matter once and for all.
“It is sad to note that even security officers in our county are unable to carry out fieldwork and restore calm since they do not have vehicles and in cases where there is a vehicle, fuel becomes a challenge yet our people are being killed every day,” said Mbai.
Machakos County Governor Wavinya Ndeti called for a diplomatic way of handling insecurity in Kitui saying that the Kamba community and Somali people had a long history of peaceful coexistence.
“We the Kamba community and the Somali people are like brothers and sisters, let there be a better way of addressing this issue so that we don’t see our people killed and camels being injured,” said Wavinya.
And Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu urged the incoming Interior CS to ensure conclusive taming of insecurity saying that even if the Kamba community was peace-loving, it needs no provocation.
Last week, Mbai who was in the company of Kitui South MP Rachael Nyamai and Kitui county commissioner Erastus Mbui among other security chiefs in the county toured Mutha where Mbai issued a five-day ultimatum to the pastoralists to clear from the contested land. The ultimatum which ended yesterday has seen a slow exodus of camels from the area.
While being interviewed by the parliamentary committee of appointment last week, defense CS nominee Aden Duale said he had 231 camels in Kitui County.
“I am worth 851 million including assets, goats, sheep, and camels. I had to value my 231 camels somewhere in Kitui,” said Duale.
Duale’s assertions did not go well with the local leaders with Mbai saying, “We are tired of every now and then losing our innocent people to illegal and armed Somali herders. We give Duale five days to get his camels out of Kitui. His herders are killing our people in cold blood”.