Monday, 29 July 2013

Naivasha: Irate residents chase away government officials terming them traitors

Former Rift Valley PC Osman Warfa leaving Narasha village in Naivasha after locals accused him of being behind their woes. (Photo:Antony Gitonga/Standard)
By Antony Gitonga      

Naivasha, Kenya: Senior government officers were forced to flee for safety after angry residents of Narasha in Naivasha attacked them, damaging vehicles.
The officers who included former Rift Valley PC Osman Warfa had to flee in their vehicles as the angry residents chased them from the area.
Some of the government vehicles had their windscreens smashed by stones as emotions ran high in the area where tens of families were evicted last week.
Efforts by the community leaders to contain the irate crowd were fruitless as they used all manner of weapons to attack the government officers.
Fearing for their lives, members of the provincial administration and senior police officers swiftly moved into their vehicles before leaving in a huff.
Trouble started after the government officers from Nakuru County arrived as a prayer meeting for those evicted continued.
The officials had gone to hold talks with community over simmering row between them and Kengen over sharing of revenue.
The Maasai accused them for the eviction and demanded that they immediately leave the meeting terming them as traitors.
It’s then that hell broke loose paralyzing the meeting and efforts by two cabinet secretaries to calm them down failed.
The meeting later continued with leaders from the Maasai community apologizing for the attack which they attributed to emotions and anger.
Tension has been high in the area following Fridays incident where armed youths seconded by APs demolished houses following a court order.

Addressing the crowd, Cabinet Secretary for internal security Joseph Ole Lenku condemned the eviction terming it as a criminal act.
He accused some government officers of using their offices illegally and promised stern action on them.
"Some few individuals decided to use their offices the wrong way and we shall take action against all those involved," he said.
Lenku said that the families affected would be assisted by the government adding that this was not a tribal issue.
"We have vowed to maintain peace in this area and the law will take its course on all those involved irrespective of their positions," he said.
On his part the Cabinet Secretary for energy Davies Chirchir condemned the eviction saying that the government was not involved in the illegal action.
He noted that if the disputed land had geothermal potential, the government would use laid procedures to acquire it.
"We are seeking permanent solution to this problem and proper proceedings should be followed before any action is taken," he said.
Naivasha MP John Kihagi and his Bahati counterpart Kimani Ngunjiri also condemned the eviction saying it had ended up creating unnecessary tension.
Others who spoke were Narok East MP Lemanken Aramat, Narok governor Samuel Tunai, Narok Senator Stephen Ole Ntutu among others.
Also present were principal secretaries Mutea Iringo (internal security), Joseph Njoroge (energy) and John Konchellah (devolution).

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