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Parliament ‘urges’ deployment of army to Tana

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 12 – Parliament on Wednesday approved a Motion seeking the deployment of the Kenya Defence Forces to the troubled Tana Delta where more than 100 people have been killed in ethnic skirmishes in the past three weeks.

Garsen MP Danson Mungatana and his Bura counterpart Abdi Nuh filed the Motion on Tuesday just hours after four more people were killed despite a dusk-to-dawn curfew ordered by President Mwai Kibaki on Monday.

“Even as it is painful to ask for KDF to be deployed in Tana, it seems to us as the local leaders that that’s the only option,” said Nuh.

The Motion was approved by MPs but with amendments after Attorney General Githu Muigai argued that Parliament had no mandate to order the government to deploy the military in civic duties.

Muigai said the Constitution anticipates the Executive to initiate any deployment of the military and then seek parliamentary approval.

“Parliament is not responding to a request by the Executive and this is not what the Constitution anticipated. Parliament is now making the decision and asking the Executive to implement that decision,” said the AG.

The Kenya Defence Force is principally charged with protecting Kenya from external aggression.

The MPs argued that the military was needed to stop the fighting and forestall any future attacks before any long-term solutions can be found.

Martha Karua defended the deployment saying the KDF will operate within the law, because that’s what the Constitution prescribes.

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The Gichugu MP said; “we need KDF because they’ve proven their competence and professionalism in Somalia.”

“I wonder if these flare-ups all over have been let to continue so that the next elections are postponed,” Karua added.

Lawmakers questioned the ability of the Kenya Police saying that investigations need to be undertaken on the capability of the police in the region.

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