Kenya Red Cross boss puts govt on the spot

November 18, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – The Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Abbas Gullet has blamed the government for failing to provide security for the recent killings of 11 people in Isiolo.

Mr Gullet said on Tuesday that the government had shown a lack of commitment in providing security to the cattle rustling prone areas in the country that had led to the loss of innocent lives in the recent past.

“This is an insecurity issue and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that security is provided and that those who are involved in this activity are held responsible. They need to know that there are consequences for their actions,” he said.

He added that the rising cases of cattle rustling would increase poverty in the arid and semi arid regions of the country thereby worsening food insecurity.

“We have people moving from riches to poverty over night. One day you have over 100 animals and then the next you have nothing and start living in poverty,” he explained. 

Mr Gullet added that the government’s reluctance to control cross-border flow of arms was also to blame for the rising incidences in cattle rustling.

“Buying arms (AK-47) is not a major issue especially in places like Marsabit, Moyale, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa.”

He also pointed out that harmonious co-existence amongst Kenyan communities had been strained by last year’s politically instigated post election skirmishes.

“People are now being relocated because they fear the potential resurgence of the post election violence,” he said, noting that it was a challenge for the country to move on from the trauma of the violence that rocked the country after the 2007 elections.

Meanwhile Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross Ibrahim Osman said that it was the government’s responsibility to provide basic needs to the people especially in the event of humanitarian crisis such as the post election violence and the recent cattle rustling incident in Isiolo.

“This is the responsibility of the government and it cannot run away from its responsibility. As Red Cross we try to complement the government business but we cannot assume that we will do everything for the people. We only come in in emergency situations,” he stated.

This comes at a time when delegates from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement gather in Nairobi for the first time to address the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges which include armed conflict, increased poverty and hunger, lack of humanitarian access, issues of climate change and the ongoing disregard for international humanitarian law.  

The assembly will come up with new policies and strategies on major humanitarian issues. The discussions will focus on the growing number of people displaced within their own countries due to violence or disasters, international migration and the human cost of climate change as well as topics limiting the use of deadly weapons and the protection of medical workers and health facilities in armed conflicts.


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