Minister justifies dismissal of chiefs in Garissa

By Ally Jamah

GARISSA, KENYA: Internal Security Ministry has defended the decision to sack at least 33 chiefs in North Eastern Province in a move that has kicked up a storm of controversy.

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo said on Tuesday the dismissed chiefs in Garissa County should take responsibility for failing in their duties to prevent criminal activities where three Kenya Defence Forces soldiers were killed last week.

“The chiefs are a vital link between the community and the Government. They should be able to identify the criminals who are causing insecurity in their areas. We are only sacking a few who have failed to co-operate with security organs in giving information,” he said on Tuesday in Nairobi.

This comes after some leaders from North Eastern Province, including Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim, said that by sacking chiefs, the State was trying to sacrifice “small fish” to cover up the huge security failure in the region.

“The Government is just passing the buck to junior officers. Chiefs have no resources or firearms to fight criminals in the regions,” they said.

The PS revealed that a number of chiefs in Samburu County, where at least 40 police officers died in an ambush by cattle rustlers, had also been relieved of their duties.

He said they took part in the planning of the deadly ambush, but did not reveal figures of those sacked.

“We cannot allow a chief to side with a community to commit criminal activities. We cannot sack all chiefs. Some are doing a very good job,” added Mutea.

The PS was speaking on Tuesday during the consultative meeting for provincial commissioners and county representatives at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi.

Conflict mapping

The National Steering Committee (NSC) on Peace Building released a county conflict mapping in which they identified issues that can potentially spark conflict in all the 47 counties. These ranged from boundaries to negative ethnicity as well as land disputes, among others.

This was under the “Uwiano” platform that brings together NSC, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), PeaceNet Kenya and the United Nations Development Programme.

“We are doing our best to prevent violence before it occurs through early warning systems of detecting and response,” said NCIC’s Alice Nderitu.