Elders in Lamu are calling for the disbandment of the Kenya National Council of Elders (KNCE) on grounds that the council has not been adequately and fairly represented in all the 47 counties.
The KNCE which is currently chaired by Phares Ruteere consists of eighteen members drawn from all the nine regions in the country namely the Coast, North Eastern, Upper Eastern, Lower Eastern, Central, Upper Rift Valley, Lower Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza.
Each of the regions nominates two members to represent them in the national elders’ council.
The nominated members of each region, form a team that comes together to elect amongst themselves the occupants of the national executive officers of the elders’ council.
The positions include chairperson, deputy chairperson, secretary, deputy secretary, treasurer, organizing secretary and deputy organizing secretary.
It is the national council of elders that is responsible for the national calendar of activities which include arbitration in conflicts involving communities and leaders, conduct of cultural activities, convening of dialogue forums and civic education.
In addition, the national council coordinates relationships among the regional councils of community elders.
But speaking in his office in Lamu town recently, the chairperson of the Lamu Council of Elders Shariff Kambaa said the region doesn’t have a single representative in the council despite being a renowned old town in Kenya and the whole of East Africa.
Mr Kambaa rebuked the county and national governments for failing to involve Lamu elders in various issues affecting the county or country at large.
He appealled to President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leaders Raila Odinga to urgently dissolve the current national council and have a new inclusive council formed instead.
“It’s unfortunate that Lamu is being marginalized in various issues including matters to do with the national council of elder. You can’t call it a national council of elders when a whole county like Lamu has no single representative. We feel the council as currently constituted is unfairly done and we want it dissolved and another one formed. We want to be part of the new one. We hope President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga will fight in ensuring Lamu is part of the council,” said Mr Kambaa.
The Deputy Chairperson of the Lamu council of elders Mohamed Mbwana said for the sake of balance and adequate representation, there is need for each of the 47 counties to have a representative in the council.
Mr Mbwana said there has been continued marginalization of Lamu by subsequent regimes and it was time for a stop.
“It’s high time that Lamu be prioritized in all matters including elders being involved in the national council unlike what it’s happening now. We are tired of the decade long marginalization of our region,” said Mr Mbwana.
BY ZUBEIR ATHMAN