Leaders from clash prone regions sign peace pact
24 February 2014, 21:34
Nairobi - Leaders from country's clash prone areas on the common border with Ethiopia on Saturday signed a peace deal to end months of inter-communal violence.
The Marsabit Peace Restoration Committee which was formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week to seek ways of returning normalcy in the region told journalists in Nairobi that leaders from the warring communities have agreed to unconditionally embrace peace.
"They have agreed to form a multi-ethnic committee that will steer joint peace rallies with immediate effect," the team which is led by ex-speaker of the National Assembly Francis ole Kaparo and Senator Yusuf Haji, who is also former defense minister.
This fresh round of violence emerged after the end of the last general elections last year but conflict has been recurring for the past several years.
Kaparo said that the national government will take punitive measures against all those who breach the agreement.
"The leaders have all agreed that violence will not lead the region anywhere," he said.
Kaparo noted that peace will give an opportunity for public service delivery. "In fact, the clashes have led to the closure of schools and hospitals in the area," he said.
Kaparo noted that the community leaders have resolved to support the peace process in order to bring lasting peace to Marsabit for the betterment of local citizens.
"However, for the peace to hold we need to disarm the mindset of the leaders as the violence is fueled by revenge attacks," he said.
"The leaders have vowed to collaborate with the central government in order to facilitate the reconstruction of houses of those displaced," he said, adding that communities must live as good neighbours.
Haji said that the government will assist the communities to rehabilitate the houses that have been destroyed. "The most affected have been women and children," he said.
The senator said that the violence has been politically motivated and revolves around the equitable sharing of resources and land.
Marsabit Governor Ukur Yatani said that the conflict has displaced over 50,000 people, most of whom have fled into the Ethiopia. "It has virtually paralyzed Moyale town which was once a vibrant town," he said.
Yatani said that leadership has failed the area as they have been partisan in the conflict.
"The government can deploy troops but it is the residents who will ensure that peace prevails," he said. Moyale member of parliament Roba Duba said that perceptions have also played a role in the inter-communal clashes.
He said that all leaders have agreed to work with the national government in order to facilitate the immediate return of all displaced persons.
Marsabit County Women Representative Nasra Ibrahim said that community leaders will be at the forefront of getting permanent solution.
Community elder Mohammed Huyo said that conflict began in the area over nine years ago over water and pastures. "Some communities began claiming ownership over the land that was owned by all the communities," Huyo said.
"Thereafter the conflict was fueled by conflicts over the sharing of political positions," he said. Huyo noted that the proliferation small arms in the region have contributed to the flare up of clashes.