From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste

Teddy from Kwale writes: “Fr Beste following what Joni quoted from Standard digital that Jomo Kenyatta took Kikuyus from Kiambu to illegally allocate them land in Mpeketoni can be concluded that is one of the reasons why Kikuyus were the targets?

Secondly, Internal Secretary Joseph ole Lenku announced the interdiction of the Lamu county police commander Leonard Omollo, Mpeketoni sub county commander Ben Maisori and Hindi area divisional officer a Mr Mutua. President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed the suspension of the officers the following day. Could this explain why Raila is connected to the attacks?

Thirdly, when Bishop Emanuel Barbara of Malindi, who is also apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Mombasa, visited Mpeketoni after the attack he concluded that the attack was carried out by Kenyans and some foreigners.

Bishop Barbara told Fides News Agency that from what he saw he could say that there was an Islamic matrix to these assaults, but it also clear that ethic groups were the main targets. This he said because the assailants killed people based on their ethnicity and religion, what lesson could be learnt from this statement? Thank you.”

Thank you Teddy. Your first question whether land grabbing could be one of the reasons why particular ethnic community was the target we can say yes. This is going with what the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report of last year condemned that the Mpeketoni land settlement scheme of the 1960s was “unprocedural”, “dubious”, “irregular” and the cause of perpetual tensions in the area.

The TJRC report, which was handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta last year, also analysed conflicts in Lamu in the context of the Shifta (Kenya-Somali) conflict of the 1960s. The commissioners also factored in historically-rooted threats to peace posed by the proposed construction of the new Lamu Port. It said the Jomo Kenyatta presidency (1964-1978) engaged in setting up.

Your second question whether the interdiction of the Lamu county police commander Leonard Omollo, Mpeketoni sub county commander Ben Maisori and Hindi area divisional officer a Mr Mutua can explain why Raila is connected to the attack is not the issue.

The issue is that targeting Kikuyu communities because of land came in the open in 1992 when Youth for Kanu’92 (YK92), a group co-founded by William Ruto to help Moi retain power in 1992. Kikuyus in the Rift Valley were the targets. The idea was to have them out of the province. Those who resisted were slaughtered alive, properties destroyed, leaving many landless and traumatized.

These attacks continued in 1997 with the worse one on the night of 13 January 1998 when some Pokot and Samburu men attacked Kikuyu communities in the Magande, Survey, Motala, Milimani and Mirgwit areas of Ol Moran in Laikipia. Attackers were armed not only with spears, bows and arrows, but also with guns. Some of the attackers were dressed in military-type clothing.

It was estimated that over 50 Kikuyus were killed during these attacks and over 1000 others fled the area and sought refuge at the Roman Catholic Church at Kinamba, from where they were later relocated to temporary shelters at Sipili and Ol Moran.

On 21 January the same year, about 70 unidentified people invaded three farms in Njoro including one belonging to the newly elected DP Member of Parliament for Molo Constituency, Kihika Kimani. Three days later, groups of what local residents described as Kalenjins attacked Kikuyus in parts of Njoro in the same constituency.

There were varying explanations given for these attacks. One version of events blamed them on the refusal of local Kikuyu traders to supply goods and services to Kalenjins in response to the events in Laikipia.

Another suggested that this was simply an unprovoked attack on Kikuyus by local Kalenjin youths. The attack on Kikuyus on 24 January provoked a counter-attack by a group of apparently well organised Kikuyus, who on 25 January attacked Kalenjin residents of Naishi/Lare in Njoro.

According to police reports, 34 Kikuyus and 48 Kalenjins were killed during these initial attacks and over 200 houses were burnt down. Hundreds of people from both communities were displaced by the fighting, and many of them fled to temporary ‘camps’ at Kigonor, Sururu, Larmudiac mission and Mauche.

Your third question on what Bishop Barbara concluded that the attack was carried out by Kenyans and some foreigners has also been witnessed by some journalists on the ground. The BBC’s Anne Soy reported that the gunmen shot dead anyone who was unable to recite verses from the Koran.

According to the report, the attackers were well organised, and as soon as they finished their mission, they disappeared, supporting the theory that they may be locals. There are long-standing political and ethnic divisions in this area for decades now.

Another report said it could be that local Somalis and Oromos who claim the area as their ancestral home are trying to drive out Kikuyus, who they see as interlopers. Such disputes over land ownership were behind much of the ethnic violence which broke out across Kenya after the disputed 2007 elections.

Although Al-Shabab has said it carried out the attack in order to take revenge on Kenya for the presence of its troops in Somalia, where they are battling the militants, as well as for the killing of radical clerics linked to al-Shabab in the port city of Mombasa, a group of Kenyan Somalis or Oromos could easily wave al-Shabab flags and shout slogans such as Allahu Akbar (God is great) in order to divert blame.

It could also be argued that President Kenyatta would want to downplay the al-Shabab angle in order to try and protect Kenya’s embattled tourist industry. This would also enable him to send Kenya’s security services after some of his political enemies.

It is very unfortunate Teddy that ethnic conflict is now threatening the decades of stability that has set Kenya apart from so many of its neighbors, like Congo, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan. No one knows exactly when this land disputes and grabbing will end in Kenya.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
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