Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his Nyeri counterpart, Mutahi Kahiga have called for a sobriety in the ongoing spat between Kamba and Kikuyu communities.
Addressing a joint press conference at the governor’s office in Machakos on Wednesday, the two leaders said both utterances and actions by some members of Kamba and Kikuyu communities were despicable and contrary to law and order which are the hallmarks of a civilised society.
Referring to recent incidents where vehicles ferrying charcoal from Kitui county were burnt down, and subsequently the release of a hate song, ‘Ikamba’ by some Kikuyu artistes directed at the Kamba community, the two governors called for peace and harmony, noting the said communities had been good neighbors for a long time.
Mutua and Kahiga warned that the country risked growth of intolerance and the planting of seeds of hate due to political aspirations of few individuals. “From the infamous ‘your name betrays you’ statement to hate speech during campaigns period, some politicians have whipped up tribal animosity and primitive behaviors against the two great communities,” they said.
They said political leaders must take responsibility for their utterances and actions and be on the front line in preaching peace among all Kenyan communities.
“The Kamba and Kikuyu communities are not only neighbors but they are literally brothers and sisters drawn from the same ancestors. We strongly condemn utterances and actions that have been recently undertaken that perpetuate tribalism and hatred among the two communities,” the two leaders noted.
The two leaders noted it was improper to blame one community for trading in charcoal and blame the other community for a hate song done by few individuals.
Governor Kahiga said the two communities were friends and partners who have traditionally referred to each other as ‘in-laws.’ “We are men of peace, people who believe it does not matter where we were born, you have a right to live and enjoy the fruits of Kenya,” Kahiga said.
Governor Kahiga said it was critical for leaders to understand their actions and statements affect their behavior of their people. “Kitui county have decided they do not want the charcoal trade in their county and that needs to be respected. Burning of vehicles and retaliation in hate song and statements is wrong and does not promote harmony,” he said.
The two leaders lauded the move by the council of governors to set up a team to mitigate the feud between Kitui and Kiambu counties.
Governor Kahiga is in Machakos County for a three-day exchange program hosted by Dr Mutua. He is set to tour several development programs implemented by the Mutua-led administration.