Elders of two rival communities in Tana River County have pledged to ensure unity in bid to shape the county's politics.
Speaking Wednesday at a public forum in Wayu, the elders from the Pokomo and Orma communities said it is time the two groups came together to form a formidable team to steer the county towards achieving its dreams.
"We have been apart for so long, and this has derailed us in terms of development. It is time we start looking at where the rains started beating us, come back and make one team for 2022 and beyond, "said Boda Godhana, an Orma elder.
The elders said the differences between the two communities are minor, and that politicians have been using them to manipulate residents into voting them into power and then delivered services based on their ethnic alignments.
They said as much as they had voted leaders based on their ethnic groups, they had not seen any development in their areas as the leaders did not deliver anything substantial apart from rewarding a few people.
"We had a water problem five years ago. We hoped since we had one of our own in leadership, he could deliver; he did not. He left us as miserable as we were but his friends now own houses and big cars," said Hussein Shambaro from the Orma community.
The elders further said they will not lead the community to vote along ethnic lines but will urge locals to vote a leader based on merit and his or her development track record.
Pokomo elders led by Salim Hiribae said the two ethnic groups have no differences whatsoever, and that those in politics have blown issues out of proportion, hampering reconciliation efforts.
Mr Hiribae said the two communities seek to steer the county to its desirable destiny, and that the unity pact the elders from both sides had signed should take effect immediately.
"We have no reason to hate each other. There is no point to look at each other as enemies, let us as elders pull these people into one and make our politics selfless just like our children have been doing," he said.
The Orma elders also said they will front a candidate for the deputy governor’s position come 2022.
They urged for Governor Dhadho Godhana to focus on development and ignore petty politicians and propagandists.
"You have a good vision for this county, and so far you have challenged our reasoning. Keep the focus and hasten your pace; do not be deterred by propagandists. We are behind you and God is with you," said Boda Godhana.
Governor Godhana and Senator Juma Wario pledged to work together in order to fulfil the desires of the elders.