Kenya: State Must Find Lasting Solution to Marsabit Conflict


January 2014, Nairobi (The Star)Ayyaantuu News Onlin  — The far flung Marsabit County has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, while other counties are haggling over development plans and investments to improve the wellbeing of their residents, up north in Marsabit, the communities are up in arms slaughtering each other in what appears to be decades long politically instigated animosity.

In 2006, Marsabit conflict cost the lives of Guracha Galgalo (Moyale), Dr Bonaya Godana (North Horr), Abdi Sasura (Saku), Titus Ngoyoni (Laisamis), Abdullahi Adan (East African Legislative Assembly) and former Assistant Minister Mirugi Kariuki (Nakuru) who were on peace seeking mission to Marsabit and died in a plane crash.

The deaths of these national and community leaders should have formed the foundation upon which peaceful co-existence between the warring communities namely the Gabbra and Borana whose symbiotic cultural and other preoccupations and coexistence has weathered many challenges in the past should have been sown and nurtured.

Clearly, Marsabit forms one of the frontier territories of Kenya and experiences unique challenges ranging from under development, lack of communication and other facilities as well insurgences by the Oromo militias that operate from there due to the porous border between Kenya and Ethiopia and proliferation of small arms further complicates the situation not only in Marsabit but the whole of the Kenyan North.

The lack of adequate state security as has rendered these areas along the Kenya-Somailia-Ethiopia borders grounds for forays by foreign militias ranging from Al Shabaab to Merille thus subjecting communities’ resident there to untold suffering and driving them deeper into misery, poverty and despondency. It is not uncommon for these communities who mainly pastoralist to consider themselves non Kenyan due to historical maltreatment, peripherization and neglect by the central government.

The crises confronting Marsabit and other counties in Kenya’s North are contravention of article 40 of the Constitution which guarantees the protection of the right to property. In addition, article the situation also violates article 29 that guarantees the right of security of the person, whose ultimate ripple effects deny the communities the opportunity to live productive lives with dignity and to afford their children an opportunity to attain an education which is a fundamental entitlement both in the Kenyan law and other international human rights instruments that Kenya has acceded to. The subsequent deaths deprive these communities the right to life which are all constitutional prerogatives.

Instead of seeking to invoke article 192(1) (a) which sites internal conflict as reasonable grounds for suspension of a county government by a section of the political actors; urgent measures should be taken by both the national and county governments, the Pastoralist Parliamentary Group, and Senators to articulate the five aspects of leadership and governance and conflict resolution in pastoralist counties that include; avoidance, accommodation, inclusivity, collaboration and compromise in order to realize peaceful co-existence and development in these areas that are unquestionably transforming to the economic power houses of Kenya’s future prosperity due to abundant oil, water, gas, geothermal, solar and wind energy and land.

By ignoring or taking halfhearted measures in addressing pastoralist conflict and insecurity in the north based on pastoralists value system categories that are pragmatic, moralistic and affective, Kenyans shall be judged harshly by history for failing their counterparts and contributing to the deterioration of a country that possesses immense potential to transform the lives of everyone to desirable standards.



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