Opinion

Growing insecurity bad omen for elections

Growing insecurity bad omen for elections

Kenol chaos.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Criminals are on the loose. Insecurity is mounting as regions are plagued with clashes. Pockets of violence are sprouting in areas known for clan and tribal wars.

There are growing cases of insecurity incidents around the country. And with elections short of a year away, security agencies need to employ ingenious methods of extinguishing the pockets of violence, for they might become unmanageable.

The recent spate of insecurity, especially in violence-prone areas, indicates a worrying trend of lawlessness becoming a recurrent problem.

It is a sign that something is amiss with both the residents and security apparatus. It is also an indicator that the root cause of the upheavals has only been dealt with at the surface level. The authorities seem not to have been vigilant in the restive counties. They are sleeping on the job.

Banditry

But we can’t afford to continue like this. The time to get serious is now. We may need to start with the Kerio Valley belt, which cuts through the three counties of Baringo, West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet. Faced with perennial security, the recent clashes in the area have so far claimed 11 lives. Banditry is believed to be among its root causes.

In nearby Marsabit, armed militants are on the loose as ethnic clashes mount. With at least 20 people killed and scores injured in the past month, it is worrying.

The North is generally a violence-prone region, threatened by inter-clan clashes, tribal wars and terrorist attacks. In the Coast, particularly Kilifi, land invasions have cropped up and, sadly, three people, including a top businessman, killed. Residents are apprehensive with the spotlight on local politicians.

Such incidents are an indicator that the security efforts in place are not sufficient. Leaders, security agencies and local communities should work together for an amicable and sustainable solution.

Countering violence

But then again, security authorities should raise the bar higher in countering violence. Most times, the problems revolve around similar issues — such as negative ethnicity, battles over scarce resources, disputes over land boundaries, cattle rustling and local politics.

The efforts undertaken so far have made little progress with some leaders and communities expressing open defiance on resolutions made, which again translate to an unresolved issue.

Politicians have been warned against regressive politics centred on incitement and financing militias and criminals, peace meetings have become constant occurrences and deployment of security officers increased.

Matters must be addressed promptly to avoid challenges such as conflicts in decision-making and untimely responses from security officers.

It is upon security officers to boost their efforts to attain results. Criminals must be expunged by all means even as lasting solutions are sought.

Selina Chiteri, Nairobi