Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Suspicion mars Baragoi probe

By MUCHEMI WACHIRA mwachira@ke.nationmedia and PAUL OGEMBA pogemba@ke.nationmedia.com

Representatives of Samburu and Turkana communities has refused to hold a joint meeting with MPs investigating the killing of 42 policemen in Baragoi two weeks ago.

As a result, each group presented its grievances to the Parliamentary Committee on Security in separate meetings.

At first Turkana leaders protested the presence of two Samburu MPs — Raphael Letimalo (Samburu East) and Maison Leshoomo (Nominated).

They were among four lawmakers who arrived in Maralal Town on Monday to establish the cause of the Baragoi massacre. (READ: In the shadow of death)

The officers were felled by bullets when they went to recover 450 cattle that Turkanas rustlers allegedly stole from their Samburu neighbours.

Left vulnerable

Turkana leaders told the committee led by Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi that the problem in Baragoi was political.

They claimed that some Samburu politicians did not want to see Turkanas registering as voters. They said that until they get their own MP, fighting may never end.

The representatives also accused the government of siding with the Samburus whenever a conflict arises because “they are well represented in Parliament and local authorities”.

Samburu leaders complained that their community had been left vulnerable after the government ordered all Kenya Police Reservists in Baragoi to return firearms.

Mr Kapondi and his team assured the Samburus that no community would be allowed to attack the other. An operation would be carried out to arrest the bandits and ensure the 33 guns the Turkana rustlers took from the police are recovered.

The House team left on Tuesday without going to Baragoi. Mr Kapondi said they had collected enough information from leaders of the two communities to advise the government and Parliament on the next course of action.

Their meeting came as Turkana families continued to flee the troubled region.

The families are camping in Maralal and Isiolo, and there fears that another conflict may erupt if the migrants decide to register as voters in those areas.

At the same time, a judge has disqualified himself from a petition seeking to stop the deployment of the military to Baragoi.

Mr Justice Isaac Lenaola on Tuesday said he had personal reasons, which could not allow him preside over the determination of the petition filed by Joint Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo.

He directed that the file be placed before Mr Justice David Majanja of the Constitutional and Human Rights Division for directions on December 10.

In the petition, Mr Midiwo argues that government move to send the military to Samburu, Turkana, Baragoi and Garissa was a violation of the Constitution since it was not approved by the National Assembly.

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