|Police officers at a scene of tribal clashes in Tana River, HRW says four politicians are involved in the clash over internicine tribal clashes.|
The Human Rights Watch, an international watchdog, has called on the government to investigate and prosecute all persons responsible in the Tana River violence.
In an online statement HRW said that apart from Galole MP Dhadho Godhana who was arrested last Wednesday in connection to the violence and sacked as Assistant Minister in Ministry of Livestock Development, there are at least three other politicians involved.
“(Our) research indicates that at least three other politicians may have been involved in inciting or organizing the violence…. and that the police and local administration in Tana River failed to respond to reports from residents over the past six months that violence could be imminent,” it says.
In the statement HRW criticizes the Police for failing to provide adequate security as revenger attacks continue and call on them “to investigate and prosecute all those potentially responsible for crimes, no matter how high-level they are.”
The call comes after President Mwai Kibaki met Coast MPs and said the government will be harsh on politicians who are inciting Kenyans against each other in ethnic lines.
HRW says it carried out research in Tana River in late August and early September to the Tana River clashes which started on 22 last month at Riketa village before September 7, 10 and 11 revenge attacks that have so far claimed 110 lives and displaced 6,000 people.
The research interviewed 16 witnesses from Ormo and Pokomo communities including victims and found that, “area politicians who hoped to win seats in next year’s elections were involved in the violence on both sides… aimed at displacing the supporters of opponents.”
Witnesses reported seeing “Constituency Development Fund vehicles for Garsen (Whose MP is Danson Mungatana) and Galole constituency carrying fuel to Riketa that was later used to burn buildings in the attack.”
The statemnet also points out that Internal Security Minister and Ijara MP Yusuf Haji who has had public spat with Godhana, who hopes to be Tana River County governor has been backing his rival Hussein Dado.
Godhana is facing charges of incitement that led to the September 10 Kilelengwani village attack that left 40 people dead including nine police officers in revenge of an earlier attack at Chamwanamuma which killed at least 11 people.
“Several politicians or political hopefuls have been linked to the violence in Tana River, ending the political violence in Tana River requires bringing to book those behind the clashes on both sides,” Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa Director at HRW is quoted on the statement.
“For decades the Kenya police have failed to investigate politicians who may be implicated in serious crimes. If they are ready to do so now the authorities must be even-handed and investigate all sides,” Lefkow points out.
© Manuel Odeny, 2012