By BEAUTTAH OMANGA
Two leaders from Rift Valley Province have denied reports that there were signs of election-related violence in the area ahead of the elections.
Saying the region was calm; Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Osman Warfa and Assistant Minister Lee Kinyanjui also differed with the chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) that firearms were flowing into the region ahead of the General Election.
They termed as serious, alarming reports that residents of the province were arming themselves and challenged the NCIC chairman to show evidence of the sensational claims.
“When the NCIC chair quotes a report without first verifying its authenticity, he is not doing Kenyans and residents of the province any justice but instilling panic and fear among them at a time when they are busy building peace and cohesion among themselves,” said the PC.
Warfa was reacting to a report attributed to Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia to the effect that firearms were flowing into Nakuru.
Dr Kibunjia had attributed the claim to a quarterly report by South Consulting firm that illegal arms have been getting into Nakuru.
Dr Kibunjia spoke after a study by the commission, which later came up with the Nakuru Peace Accord. However both the minister, who is the Nakuru Town MP, and the PC speaking separately asked Dr Kibunjia to report to police the whereabouts and the source of the said firearms.
“This being an election year, we can not afford such kind of alarming statements which are likely to cause fear and panic among residents in this region,” said Kinyanjui.
He termed as unfounded claims by Dr Kibunjia that members of the Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities were likely to play key roles in violence once again.
“Dr Kibunjia ought to tell Kenyans how far he went to verify those sensitive claims before making them public. The peace accord he purports to be signing with elders will not yield anything if talks the way he does,” warned Kinyanjui.
He wondered how the NCIC hoped to attain peace among different communities residing in Nakuru “if he does not bother to invite MPs to such meetings.”
Warfa said he was happy with the integration between different communities in Rift valley and wanted elders involved in peace building to carry on with their mission. On Land ownership and historical injustices, Warfa said the issues should be left to relevant arms of the Government.