By Njoki Githinji
NAIROBI, JULY 3, 2020 (CISA) – The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops – Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) has decried continued insecurity and tensions in the Counties of Narok and Marsabit.
“We are deeply concerned with continued insecurity and tensions in the Counties of Narok (Transmara and Mau forest) and Marsabit which have led to loss of lives, displacement of people and destruction of properties…We strongly condemn these barbaric acts and appeal to the concerned communities to embrace peace, love and harmony. Only then will development be realised for their common good,” Bishop John Oballa Owaa Chairman KCCB – Catholic Justice and Peace Commission said in a July 3 statement.
The bishop expressed regret over the recent reported systematic killings of twelve people (12) including two University students, a secondary school student and a bodaboda rider in Marsabit County.
He called on Government to intervene and initiate peace talks among elders from various communities in Marsabit and Narok Counties and resolutions implemented in order to secure the regions from perennial ethnic conflicts and deaths.
“It is saddening to note that similar attacks have become common in the recent past years. The Ministry of Interior and National Coordination should at all-time conduct speedy investigations and ensure that the culprits are brought to book. Many a time, these cases are not conclusively followed which denies the families justice and instead motivate the perpetrators to continue with their ungodly practices,” he added.
Condoling with the bereaved, the prelate urged community leaders to work with police to identify and bring to book perpetrators of the attacks.
“The National Police Service with the assistance of local administration, Nyumba Kumi programme, village elders and local political leaders should be in a position to help with investigations and identifying the perpetrators since they are part of and within the communities affected,” he opined.
Bishop Oballa blamed the dominant Kenyan political culture of power struggle largely propelled by greed noting that it easily escalates to conflict, stand-off and stalemate.
He lamented that as such,citizens, the economy, the eradication of suffering and promoting dignity are ignored and not prioritized in the daily politics.
“The County Governments and the National Government have an obligation to commit whole-heartedly to creating and respecting systems of governance that guarantee high-level service delivery… The high levels of poverty, mistrust, nepotism, violence, murder, human trafficking, tribal clashes, cronyism and outright misappropriation of public funds show the rot of our Governance, and that we have lost our conscience as a society,” he said urging the aggrieved communities to seek legal redress to their grievances.
“Ethnic killings or killings between people happen only in a country or county where law and order is not respected. People who feel aggrieved should seek legal redress. On its part, the government should ensure people have faith in the systems of governance. Without this, we are afraid; communities will continue to kill each other as if we are a lawless state,” he warned.
The bishop noted that in this period of covid-19, Kenyans are going through challenges ranging from joblessness, mental health, stigma and Gender Based Violence thus “ not in in the best interest of Kenyans who are already confined and suffering due to the pandemic, to again be subjected to uncalled for conflicts, killings and other forms of sufferings.”