NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 10 – President Mwai Kibaki summoned Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo late on Thursday to brief him what he is doing to stem rising insecurity in the country.
It was the first time the new police chief met the president at his Harambee House office since his appointment on December 24.
Sources at the president’s office told Capital FM News that the meeting mainly centered on the Tana River flare ups and insecurity in other parts of the country which are increasingly worrying Kenyans.
Kenya is two months away from one of the most competitive elections in which key presidential aspirants have formed coalitions to convince Kenyans to elect them to replace President Kibaki who is retiring in March.
“The meeting was mainly on security issues. The president is keen to ensure there is peace in the country during the electioneering period,” a source privy to the closed door talks said.
There was no official communication from the presidency over the meeting, but we obtained photographs of the new police chief donning his official uniform which is a blend of both the regular and administration police.
It was the first time the new police chief was donning the uniform, three weeks after his appointment.
“The police chief has assured President Kibaki that security will be restored in the country,” another source said, on condition he is not named because he has no authority to comment on the president’s official meetings.
The president is understood to have issued stern instructions to the police chief not to sleep on the job, because he has good will from Kenyans to deliver.
The meeting was also attended by Internal Security Minister Katoo ole Metito and his Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo, according to the sources.
Police have been accused of laxity, leading to sporadic insecurity incidents in various parts of the country including Mathare slum in Nairobi and Baragoi.
Speaking separately, CID director Ndegwa Muhoro blamed local police and intelligence officers in Tana River for most of the cases-particularly Wednesday and Thursday when 22 more people were killed.
“It is not an incident which should have occurred again,” Muhoro said when he appeared before an Inquiry on the Tana River skirmishes which held a sitting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
“We sat and agreed it should not occur again and I wonder what the Provincial Security Intelligence Committee is doing on the ground,” he said, adding, “I expected them to plan security operations unannounced after yesterday’s (Wednesday) attacks.”
On Thursday morning, at least 10 people, five of them children, were killed in a retaliatory raid in the troubled Tana Delta.
The attack follows a dawn raid on Wednesday by members of the Pokomo tribe on the nearby village of Nduru, inhabited by members of the Orma tribe, in which nine people died.
Violence between the two communities first erupted in August, pitting the Pokomo farming community against their Orma pastoralist neighbours and leading to a series of vicious reprisal killings and attacks that left more than 150 people dead.
The repeated outbreaks of violence have raised security concerns ahead of elections due on March 4, with police investigating local politicians for alleged involvement in the unrest.
Regional police Chief Aggrey Adoli admitted on Thursday there was “a problem in the area” and blamed local politicians for failing to play a bigger role in calming the violence.
“Most of the local politicians have been silent on the violence… a majority of them have neither condemned the atrocious acts nor asked the people for restraint,” said Adoli.
Modibo Toure, the top UN humanitarian official for Kenya, said there was concern over an “increase in violence” in the country, noting more than 450 people were killed and nearly 112,000 people fled violence last year.
“In the run up to the March 2013 elections, the United Nations would like to urge Kenyans to exercise their democratic rights in a peaceful manner with respect for the rights and dignity of all concerned,” Toure said in a statement.
Large numbers of security forces were deployed in the region following attacks last year, but the clashes have continued.
The two communities have clashed intermittently for years mainly over access to grazing, farmland and access to water in the coastal region.