Kenya ministers in fresh row

November 15, 2009 1:22 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 15 – The killing of 11 people by cattle rustlers in Isiolo early Sunday sparked off a tirade of finger pointing with Cabinet Minister Dr Mohammed Kuti accusing his Internal Security counterpart Prof George Saitoti of sleeping on the job.

The Isiolo North MP threatened to resign if cases of insecurity continue to escalate in his region and blamed Prof Saitoti for the mess, barely a day after the Cabinet resolved to speak in one voice at the just concluded retreat for ministers and their assistants in Mombasa.

"Prof Saitoti  has failed, he is not able to protect people in my region because every time we hear of cattle rustling incidents and now the revenge attacks which have led to the killing of 11 people," Dr Kuti who is also the Livestock Minister said.

He accused Prof Saitoti of "concentrating too much on politics at the expense of the country’s security."

"The Minister has ambitions for the 2012 General Elections, he is not keen in maintaining security for the people," he told journalists in Nairobi.

The Minister said "11 people were mercilessly killed after heavily armed bandits raided a village in my constituency with security agents in the area caught unawares."

The Kenya Red Cross said 58 killings had occurred resulting to cattle raids-related incidents in the region since June 2009, making the area one of the most volatile in the country.

The incident sparked off tension in the area, with fears of more revenge attacks even as Police Spokesman Mr Erick Kiraithe announced that security had been enhanced.

"Security forces have been deployed to the area, we are warning residents to stop these revenge attacks," Mr Kiraithe said.

Dr Kuti however, maintained the area was "still too volatile and the police patrols are not assisting us at all."

He claimed "most of the killings occurred with the full knowledge of the police and members of the provincial administration."

"The security forces in the area are bias, even the local District Commissioner is not doing anything to assist the situation, whenever I ask him, he keeps referring me to the Internal Security Minister," Dr Kuti said and vowed to resign if similar cases persist.

"I will resign, I can not continue sitting the cabinet watching as my people are killed," he said without giving a timeline.

His remarks came just a day after President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga led Ministers and their Assistants to a bonding session at the Coastal town where they called for unity amongst government officials.

In their address to the ministers, the two principals urged the group to speak in one voice for the sake of uniting the nation.

Dr Kuti is among cabinet Ministers who attended the three-day retreat in Mombasa.

"I can not watch as my people are killed and fail to speak about it. My people expect me to provide leadership," he said when asked why he chose to ignore the Mombasa resolution.

Prof Saitoti was not available for comment over the allegations levelled against him.


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