Marsabit marks 13 years since deaths of MPs in plane crash

Wednesday March 18 2020

Governor Mohamud Ali (centre) lights a candle at the Marsabit town Catholic hall on April 12, 2019 during the 13th anniversary of the Marsabit plane crash that killed all MPs from the county. On the right is nominated Senator Naomi Jillo whose husband, Bishop William Waqo, died in the crash. PHOTO | COURTESY


On April 10, Governor Mohamud Ali led the county leadership and residents in lighting candles to mark the 13th anniversary of Marsabit plane crash that killed all the then four legislators from the county.

The leaders, among them the then deputy leader of opposition and North Horr MP Bonaya Godana, Saku MP Abdi Sasura, Moyale MP Guracha Galgallo and Laisamis MP Titus Ngoyoni, were on a peace mission to Marsabit when the military plane they were travelling in crashed few metres from the venue of the meeting.


But 13 years later, the county is still grappling with the problem of tribal conflicts that Governor Ali, popularly is known as Abshiro among Marsabit communities, now hopes to solve.

Mr Ali spoke on Friday in an interview at the border town of Sololo after a weeklong series of meetings that he is conducting to assess development projects and the drought situation.

He was accompanied by political leaders and elders during the tour which also aimed at fostering cohesion among the residents.

In the last seven months alone, at least 20 people have been killed in ethnic clashes that have stunted development since 2006.

But this is a continuation of past conflict.


In 2013, after the elections, deputy president William Ruto warned that county government could be suspended following deadly clashes in Moyale.

The county was then led by former governor Ukur Yattani who lost to Mr Ali in the last elections.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has now moved to disarm all police reservists in Marsabit County as he tries to find a lasting peace solution to a region plagued by ugly intercommunity clashes.

This has given hope to an area that is still trying to recover from historical injustices.

Marsabit, a county in the northernmost part of the country, has a population of nearly 300,000 people.


One of the issues believed to be the source of the clashes is the fertile Saku area, which all communities there — Rendille, Borana, Gabra and Burji — would like to occupy.

But even with the unsettling tension plaguing the county, Marsabit has still managed to make strides that could make it the envy of other counties with less to worry about.

Governor Ali weighed in on Marsabit’s situation and his blueprint, promising to leave the county better than he found it when assuming office in 2017.

He said that Marsabit has a lot of potential which has been threatened by the never-ending ethnic clashes which he hopes to end with the help of the national government.

Past attempts to set up committees that can assist in sensitising residents have not been very successful.


The last three months have been relatively peaceful, and Mr Mohamud attributed this to the peace initiative bringing together elders and representatives from different communities, the clergy, through the Marsabit Inter-Faith Council and the county leadership

“We have really made a lot of appeal to the Interior ministry and the President and we hope things will improve. We cannot allow a few people to undermine the same harmony. We have a vibrant approach through our cohesion department.”

The county has invested in cohesion, with an entire directorate set up to take care of that matter.

Marsabit is one of the counties that has suffered gross marginalisation throughout Kenya’s history and is only now trying to dust itself and move on.