Kenya: Assistant Minister sacked and arrested over the Tana River skirmishes
Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2012
By MAURICE ALAL, reporting from Kisumu Kenya
The Assistant Minister for Livestock and Development, Rt Major Godhana Godana have been sacked and arrested for involvement in the incitement of the ethnic attacks in the Tana River that saw over 100 people killed and thousands displaced from their homes.
Godana who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Galole constituency of Coastal region of Kenya was arrested immediately after being sacked by President Mwai Kibaki in consultation with the Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
This was after President Kibaki held a high-powered meeting with the Coast leaders where they resolved that all leaders involved in the skirmishes to be prosecuted.
“We will deal firmly with inciters in order to quell the skirmishes in the country especially now that we are heading to the General Election,” Kibaki said during the passing out of 1,300 General Service Unit (GSU) officers at Embakasi barracks, Nairobi.
The move was taken to pave way for investigation over the claims made by the Internal Security Minister Yusuf Hajji that Godana had hand in the ongoing attacks between Pokomo and Orma communities.
The former assistant minister was arraigned in Nairobi court and charged with incitement to violence over the skirmishes between the two communities that have also led to over 100 houses torched and several animals butchered by the armed gangs in a retaliatory attack.
Following the attack over 500 bullets and five guns were stolen when the said militia attacked a police post killing nine police officers and 28 residents on Monday, this week.
Godana was later released on a cash bail of Shs. 500,000 or free bond of Shs.1million waiting for the next hearing. This could send the MP into 3 years imprisonment if found guilty.
However, President Mwai has ordered the police to quash the violence with a total of 1,800 GSU officers deployed in the Tana River Delta.
He also ordered the arrest of leaders believed to have funded or influencing the skirmishes warning that the law will soon catch with them.
This comes just a day when President Mwai issued a curfew to the resident of the Tana River. The government have also commenced the disarmament of the illegal firearms in the area.
“We are aware that there are over 3,000 illegal firearms in Tana River. Those in position of guns should surrender them immediately,” said the Coast Provincial Commissioner, Samuel Kilele.
The situation has prompted the Members of Parliament urging the President to deploy the Kenya Defence Forces to help in quelling the skirmishes at the coastal region of Kenya. On the other hand police have insisted that they are able to stop the ongoing attacks but are still in dilemma whether to use force.
“We don’t want to go to Hague for excessive force. Police are currently in a dilemma,” said the deputy Police spokesperson, Samuel Owino adding that they are waiting for the government directives.
The insecurity in the region has seen peace caravan pulls out with several people fleeing the area with their animals. This has also called upon humanitarian support for the displace families.
It has also emerged that the skirmishes has made the area residents to have no confident about the government action saying the sacking of the local junior administrative officers was not enough.
However, a crisis security meeting have been called in Mombasa City of the Coast region to find an amicable way to solve the ethnic violence.
The skirmishes are reported to have erupted when Orma grazed in the Pokomo crops after which a section of Pokomo community staged a revenge attack killing 53 people, mostly women and children. The retaliatory attacks kept on living over 100 people dead several damages over the last three weeks.