We have been on the ground and there is tension as politicians from different clans fight for positions and there is also tension over boundaries.
By Abdikadir Sugow
Death and destruction in clashes between neighbouring communities in the Tana Delta and Northern Kenya struck alarm bells as the National Conference on Peaceful Elections ended at the Bomas of Kenya on Tuesday.
The peace conference opened by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga was confronted by the tragic realisation that deep-seated causes of conflict continue.
The violent protests in Mombasa during which vehicles were smashed, shops looted, and churches attacked after gunmen killed terror suspect and fiery cleric, Sheikh Aboud Rogo, further showed peace still remains elusive as the country heads to the General Election in March.
Unlike the clashes commonly associated with politics and elections in certain parts of the country, especially in the Rift Valley, the latest conflicts are also related to social, economic and religious factors.
The Kenya Red Cross has alleged politicians eyeing governor and senator positions may have contributed to the violence in Northern Kenya and the Tana Delta, which left more than 50 people dead.
Red Cross raised the alarm over possible flare-ups ahead of the elections due to tension over the sharing of county positions and new electoral boundary disputes.
As the Government and civil society grapples with peace building and conflict management, it is imperative the communities are directly engaged in the process to ensure a sustainable solution to the perennial ethnic clashes.
The Government and all stakeholders, it has been argued, must address all the different types of conflict and what must be done to address them.
Red Cross alleges politicians eyeing county positions are pitting clans and ethnic groups against each other in the scramble for the positions, leading to violence.
They have identified Mt Elgon, Marigat in Kiserian, East Baringo, Sotik, Nandi, Turkana, Moyale, Isiolo, Samburu, Mandera, Tana Delta and Wajir as among those likely to explode in violence during the period.