Thursday, August 30, 2012



Picture of Tana Delta Massacre in Kenya

By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
August 27, 2012

If Kenya’s National Intelligence Security Service is to be believed, it is now common knowledge that last week’s massacres in Tana Delta, Mandera and Wajir where close to 70 innocent Kenyans, mostly women and children were massacred and homes torched, were planned operations funded by politicians and executed by local government officers.

The style and manner of human killings, arson and hacking of innocent animals had strange similarities with the grisly murders that took place at Kiambaa church in Eldoret and the subsequent reprisal and equally gruesome massacres in Naivasha a few days later four years ago. This indeed is the dark past this country is trying to run away from since February 28 2008. It is the reason we have trials planned for April 2013 in The Hague.

If indeed we can have repeats of what we did to fellow Kenyans in 2008 now, even before we conclude the ICC trials, does it mean that the ICC may not achieve the desired effect after all?

In 2008, violence erupted following the messed up election results. It is the reason we refer to that tragedy as the Post Election Violence. However, four years later, we seem to have decided that the same violence must start at least seven months to the election- again planned and funded by our politicians, some of them members of the cabinet.

If indeed 70 Kenyans can be killed by known perpetrators and 10 days later, no arrests have been made, is this not a powerful message to the lords of impunity that the government, the custodian of law and order has neither the balls nor the will to protect its own citizens?

If we can have this scale of violence before the elections, what can we expect during elections when all manner of crude politicians will be on the loose protecting their turfs with their crude weapons and goons for personal militia?

If Kenya indeed wants to be respected and taken seriously by the international community of civilized nations, we want to see these animals called politicians who planned our deaths in Tana, Mandera and Wajir arrested, tried, convicted and put behind bars for life. This will be a more potent message than the ICC process that takes forever. Instant senseless murders need instant justice. Justice delayed is justice denied even for the dead.

I felt sad for Kenya the day we celebrated the second anniversary of the new constitution at Bomas of Kenya. I felt small as a Kenyan when I compared our high sounding fluent speeches from our top politicians, security chiefs and the judiciary as Mombasa city was literally on fire! Here we were giving our leaders accolades talking peace when the coast was literally ablaze! Wasn’t it ironical that the Internal Security Minister, Head of the Civil Service and Police Commissioner were seated at Bomas listening to political rhetoric as Mombasa burned?

In Kenya, we were once described as an island of peace. That tag is no more. Today, we have more ethnic clashes in a year in all parts of Kenya than all the five EAC member states combined. We never hear of ethnic clashes in Uganda and Rwanda because they learnt from their past mistakes. We never see scenes of Ethnic violence from Ethiopia or Tanzania yet, like Kenya, they too have their diverse tribes.

In the last five years, I have never heard a single national peace forum held in Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Kigali or Addis Ababa to reconcile the nationals of our neighbors. Yet in Kenya in the last two months alone, we have had a high level Peace forum in Mombasa, 47 in all counties and this week, another national forum addressed by Kenya’s top leadership. I may be wrong but I think this government is talking to itself. Kenyans switched off a long time ago.

I have a suggestion to make. Instead spending millions of shillings on peace meetings that nobody cares about, how about using those resources to recruit and train more police officers and give them better equipment to combat lawlessness?

If one miserable MP can hire and ferry hooligans from as far as Hola to go and murder people in Tana Basin, why can’t the government recruit and transport the GSU to trouble spots?

The Mombasa fiasco on the day a peace forum was in progress at the Bomas was an indictment on this government. It proved that the entire security apparatus including the intelligence department that are supposed to preempt and prevent crime went to sleep a long time ago.

It is only in Kenya where a known terrorist can be caught red-handed with an assortment of weapons without the requisite firearms license and still release the hooligan on bond and later acquit him for lack of sufficient evidence! It is only in Kenya where loss of human life carries less value than rights of the murderer!

Keeping law and order including maintaining peace does not require peace forums. All we need is a working penal code and a diligent police force. The law is the law and it must be obeyed by all. Those who break the law must be dealt with swiftly and punitively to send a clear message to would be offenders that there is something called crime and punishment.