Communities living in Tana River County have formed a multi-ethnic peace council to deal with perennial conflicts arising from competition for natural resources and politics.
Elders from all communities resident in the county gathered at the Maridhiano Hall in Minjila, Tana Delta Sub County, recently to ratify the council’s constitution with a view to rolling out the organization’s activities.
The council is the brainchild of the Tana Peace and Reconciliation for Development, a community-based organization that has been championing peace campaigns in the clash-prone county.
The organization’s Executive Director, Mr. Harrison Morowa, said the initiative was being supported by the United States International Development Agency (USAID) and was aimed at uniting all communities in the county to minimize conflicts by swiftly handling disputes between members of the various communities.
“This idea came up just a few months to the 2017 elections because Tana River is known to experience tribal clashes shortly before and after general elections,” he said.
Tana River County Commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio assured the elders that the government would support the council in all its activities as long as it would work towards ensuring lasting peace in the county.
“Wherever I have gone, I have worked with elders and the results have been amazing. Where there are wise elders, nothing can go wrong,” he said.
Mr. Sosio told the elders from the Orma, Pokomo, Wardei, Wailuana, Mywoyaya, Watta among other communities that they had a responsibility to unite their people and to solve issues affecting them without resorting to clashes.
He said the major conflicts in the county emanated from tribalism, politics and competition for natural resources, and urged the elders to use their wisdom to resolve issues before they escalate into bloody clashes.
He cautioned elders against accepting to be divided on tribal lines and told them to prevail upon their youths to refuse to be incited by politicians to fight other communities for the politicians’ personal gains.
The county commissioner warned that the county’s residents could be marginalized like the Red Indians if they continued feuding among themselves.
“Tana River County has a projected population of only 340,000 people inhabiting a land mass of 38,000 square kilometers, and I do not understand why you are fighting over resources with so much wealth,” he said.
Mr. Sosio said should the government initiate a gravity irrigation project and develop only 1 million acres of land, Tana River will not have the capacity to provide the manpower in such a scheme.
“Those who will come to work in that scheme will be from other counties and soon they will be the majority, leading to your marginalization, if you will not stop the nonsense of tribal clashes,” he warned.
Mr. Mohamed Wario, the chairman of the council, said the communities would work together through the organization to ensure peace prevails in the county.
Former Tana River County Transition Coordinator, Mr. Anania Karhayu Deye, urged the elders to employ alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to avoid clashes.
Tana River County Commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio stresses a point during a meeting with community leaders at Maridhiano Hall in Minjila, Tana Delta Sub County Tuesday. He told the elders that the government would support initiatives aimed and bringing lasting peace to the clash-prone county.
A section of community leaders in Tana River County. The elders have formed a multi-ethnic council to help foster peace among the various communities residing in the county.
Former Tana River County Transition Coordinator addresses leaders of all communities living in the county during a sensitization meeting. He told them to employ alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to avoid clashes.