How politicians are leveraging campaigns to propel gang attacks in Lamu
Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi held a meeting with elected leaders from Lamu to deliberate on the prevailing security situation in the County.
The meeting in Nairobi comes days after the government gazetted parts of Lamu County as ‘Disturbed Areas’ and dispatched a multi-agency security team to restore peace and order following attacks by criminal gangs that left seven people dead.
The leaders who included Governor Fahim Twaha, Senator Anwar Loitiptip, Woman Representative Ruweida Obbo and Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama resolved to urgently form a leadership forum comprising of elected and non-elected opinion shapers in the county.
The agenda of the forum will be to seek solutions to issues fuelling insecurity and conflicts in the cosmopolitan county ahead of a planned field visit to the county by senior government and security officials next week.
The government has blamed ethnic profiling that is linked to political inclinations around elections, the looming voter registration drive and land disputes as the primary causes of the latest attacks and displacements in Lamu.
“We have been paying very close attention to issues in Lamu. We are determined to ensure the ugly spectre of violence on a scale that we have regrettably witnessed in the past years does not recur,” said Dr Matiang’i.
He warned that the government will prosecute leaders and recommend to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that they be barred from contesting in future elections where the evidence pointed to their involvement in sponsored or incited violence.
He said the attacks risked undermining the intended benefits of massive government investments in and around the county including the Lamu port and the LAPPSET corridor.
Governor Twaha attributed the latest attacks to the general election claiming unnamed politicians planned to benefit from the displacement of residents who are not deemed as indigenous to the area.
‘The truth is most of the elected leaders in the county won by very thin margins and some people reason the best way to alter future election results is to ensure members of certain communities fail to vote by displacing them,’ he said.
The leaders urged the government to prioritise the issuance of title deeds in the country to redress contested land ownership and to ensure more local youths are employed in government projects in the region.