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Garissa leaders task NCIC to probe Raila’s “anti-Somali” remarks in Kitui on Saturday



GARISSA—A controversial statement made by the Opposition leader, Raila Odinga during a thanksgiving ceremony on the weekend is now a subject of concern after leaders from Garissa County said it borders “hate speech and incitement.”

Speaking in Kabati, Kitui County on Saturday during the homecoming ceremony of Kitui senator Enock Wambua, Raila, without specifically mentioning a name, pointed a particular community for inter-communal conflicts.

Leaders from Garissa have called on the National Cohesion and Integration Commission [NCIC] to summon Azimio Raila Odinga to record a statement over comments he made in Kitui which they said border on incitement.

Odinga further sensationally linked the previous attacks that occurred between the Akamba and Somali communities “to a senior official in the government” without evidence.

“I know that you have a problem here where people from the other side cross the border and come over here with their camels and armed with weapons,” Raila said.

“Many are the times when we have heard and seen innocent people killed by individuals armed with firearms. Unfortunately, all this happens while the government is there.”

Odinga however said that the biggest responsibility of ensuring that Kenyans’ lives and property are protected lies with the interior CS Kithure Kindiki.

Fafi MP Salah Yakub during a function in Garissa on Sunday.

But reacting to the statement, the two UDA MPs Salah Yakub (Fafi) and Dekow Mohamed (Garissa township) said that such utterances were likely to trigger clashes between the two neighbouring communities.

“It was unfortunate and uncalled for a person of Raila’s stature to utter such utterances which he knows can likely cause disharmony among the two communities. We want the relevant agencies to move with speed and take action against him,” he said.

“As pastoralists, we move far and wide in search of water and pasture for our animals. Our people don’t have to ask for permission from anybody. For someone to wake up and start accusing us of being killers, action must be taken against him.”

He said the same community that he was now apparently bashing had stood with him for a very long time in his political career.

“I don’t know why he seems to have a lot of issues with us when it is an open secret that as a community we stood with him and voted for him almost to the last man. He is the same person who is on record calling for a reduction of the equitable sharing revenue from the national government because we don’t have the number,” he said.

Garissa Township MP, Dekow Mohamed

On his part, Mohamed said that as the pastoralist community, they were not troublemakers but people whose sole intention was to look for food and pasture for their animals.

Mohamed said that Kenya was a free country and that anyone was free to live where he or she wishes saying that the profiling of communities amounts to incitement.

Herders from Garissa and Tana Rivers are often on the move looking for water and pasture and have time and again clashed with locals in Kitui.

While Kitui residents accuse the herders of letting loose their animals on their farms and destroying crops.

Headers on their part accuse the residents of denying them grazing fields and killing their animals with poisoned arrows.

[Additional reports by The Star]


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