Kenya has walked down the path of ethnic violence for far too long. Last week, close to 10 lives were lost in bloody, violent skirmishes in Narok between the Maasai and Kispigis communities.
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According to the police, more than 60 houses had been torched by last night, with tensions between the two communities rising by the day. This is not a new road for Kenya, but this time, we hope the relevant authorities will step in, in good time, to quell the unrest before it spirals into something unmanageable. While the issues at the core of the conflict might be genuine, the public and law enforcement must be wary of peddlers of half-truths.
Politicians from both communities, often the point of ignition in many tribal killings, should be held on a very short leash, their utterances monitored and their involvement in resolving the current crisis supervised. Law enforcement agencies should ensure they remain on top of the situation and intervene when necessary. Smoking roofs, arrows lodged in bodies of residents, running battles between locals and policemen are hardly the images we need to see now.
The sporadic violence is also an indictment to agencies such as the National Cohesion and Integration Commission that have for many years gobbled up taxpayer’s money with no tangible results.
Sadly though, history has also shown that such catastrophic events are seldom concentrated at one place. Often, the embers of tribal wars are carried by the rumour mill and transported to far away grasslands where similar fires eventually break out.