, NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 29 – Parliament suspended normal business on Wednesday afternoon to allow MPs discuss the security situation in Mombasa, following days of rioting over the killing Muslim cleric Aboud Rogo.
Gichugu MP Martha Karua led other lawmakers in requesting the National Assembly Speaker to allow the House discuss the violence that has left policemen and civilians dead.
Karua asked the government to treat the events in Mombasa, Tana River and Wajir that have left tens of Kenyans dead as a “wake up call” to ensure that all Kenyans live in peace.
She also called for unity among Kenyans in the coastal region to foster religious tolerance.
“I am appealing to our Muslim and Christian brothers to borrow a leaf from the Garissa community who stood together in the face of similar provocation,” she said.
Defence Assistant Minister David Musila also condemned the violence that has been witnessed in the Coast since Monday.
Transport Minister Amos Kimunya appealed to the people of the Coast to remain calm even as the government conducts investigations, saying continued violence will harm the tourism circuit as well as business at the port of Mombasa.
MPs called for the quick conclusion of police reforms which will provide better leadership, equipment and pay to the force, factors which they said had made it difficult to policemen to probe arbitrary killings of innocent Kenyans.
They appealed for an end to speculation as to who might have carried out the killings.
Nominated MP Mohammed Affey said they expect quick action to apprehend the suspects linked to the shooting of the prominent Muslim cleric.
Acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji assured Kenyans that calm had been restored to the Coastal city of Mombasa after two days of chaos following the murder of a Muslim cleric. Addressing a special sitting of Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Haji said that the government had flown over 244 security personnel to the area to assist in efforts to maintain peace.
“The lobbing of a grenade on the police officers is an illusion, this indicates that the demonstrators were infiltrated by the terrorist elements who are in possession of illicit firearms and explosive devices,” he said.
Haji further told the House that the Criminal Investigations Department director had dispatched investigators with express orders to track down suspected Al-Shabaab sympathizers who have taken advantage of the violence to attack security officers and churches.
The minister condoled with the families of three prison warders who were killed on Tuesday and 11 others sustained serious injuries after their vehicle was attacked with hand grenades in Mwandoni area in Kisauni.
The officers were part of a contingent of security officers heading to counter marauding youths who had set the Kisauni Presbyterian Church on fire as protests over Rogo’s death escalated. Rogo was killed on Monday near the Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach by armed gunmen in a speeding car. His wife was also wounded in the shooting.
The cleric was accused of having a hand in the 2002 Kikambala’s Paradise hotel bombing where fifteen people were killed and several others injured. MPs Najib Balala, Sheikh Mohammed Dor and Abdikadir Mohammed joined their colleagues in condemning the violence and attacks on four churches but also asked the government and the police service to expedite investigations on the killers of the Muslim cleric.
Mohammed called for better equipping and staffing of police stations. “I was in Banisa (in northern Kenya) where the violence was talking place and the commanding officer had just two other officers at the post. How do expect them to cope, when in most areas they are over stretched and lacked equipment.”
“We must look after our officers… they put the lives on the line every time they go out there to protect us,” said the Mandera Central MP. Cabinet ministers Dalmas Otieno, Moses Wetangula and Assistant Minister Kabando wa Kabando called for tougher regulations to guide the use of social media which they claimed was to blame for the spread of hate speech messages.
“It is not enough to call the police to act. It is not enough to call the government to act, where the area of legislation is inadequate. These things don’t come slowly, we can see it coming. This is how Mungiki developed,” said Public Service Dalmas Otieno
“The trail of explosions is now a pattern, and we must find out who is inciting our youths. Police must stop arresting the youth and go for the top people. We have lesson to learn from events in Nigeria and Indonesia.