Raila calms nerves over alien crackdown

January 31, 2010 12:00 am

, MANDERA, Kenya, Jan 31 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has cautioned leaders from North Eastern province to stop reviving politics of secession to another state while reacting to the latest crackdown on illegal immigrants in the country.

He told the leaders to go slow on such weighty matters, seek redress in a diplomatic manner and warned that such rhetoric was likely to alienate and plant discord among the residents of the province.

The premier assured residents of North Eastern that the government was committed to uphold the constitutional right of every Kenyan irrespective of their social status, ethnic background and geographical location.

“Let me tell my colleagues that we don’t have to clamour for secession to make our point home. We have to fight for that right here in Kenya and not in Somalia or Ethiopia because they are not any better” he said.

He however registered concern over the manner in which the police conducted the countrywide swoop on immigrants arguing that force was yet to be fully reformed to adhere to ethical practices.

Mr Odinga was reacting to the leader’s outcry during a public rally in Takaba Trading Centre after touring development projects in Mandera West constituency.

Speakers had accused the police of targeting Somalis irrespective of their nationality in what they claimed was an economic war to push the community out of the prime business spots in the pretext of vetting their identities.

The PM told the aggrieved community not to overreact to mistakes that might have been perpetuated by a few elements in the police force, but pull towards national cohesion and unity for posterity of future generations.

He said tribalism had afflicted the country to the core hence the need for communities to nurture and exploit national diversity and tap our potentials for the good of the nation.

Mr Odinga at the same time asked Kenyans to co-operate with security agencies to flush out illegal immigrants within their locality, in the spirit of community policing.

On education in the region, the premier was alarmed by the low rate of girl child enrolment in local schools and asked residents to give them a chance to learn.

“We must stop early marriages to allow our girls to attend school because the current ratio of 1 girl to ten boys in school is disturbing” he stressed.

He also told teachers to stop over indulging in private business ventures at the expense of their duties to improve on the dismal performance seen by students in local schools during the national examinations.

Earlier in the day, Odinga who was accompanied by several cabinet Ministers and Members of parliament presided over the ground breaking ceremony of the proposed Takaba Power Station before commissioning the Dahani borehole.

Prominent personalities in the entourage included Cabinet Ministers Charity Ngilu, Anyang’ Nyong’o, Ibrahim Elmi, and area MP and Assistant Minister Mohamed Mohamud.

The leaders were protesting the alleged arbitrary arrest of people of Somali origin in the wake of a recent demonstration by Muslims to push for the release of a controversial Jamaican cleric Abdul El-Faisal.


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