By Salad MalichaSince the herald of the new constitution, parliament is generally more accountable. Citizens are able to follow the activities of their legislators owing to current procedural simplicity and openness. Currently, decision-making will oscillate from the committees and the floor to negotiations between the Houses of parliaments, in obscurity and away from the public eye. There is a tendency for inter-House negotiations, particularly before departmental committees, to be removed from public view and participation.
The responsibility of individual legislators for the decisions they take may be undermined. They may often pass the buck to the executive arm of the government and as a result, disguise their decision-making responsibility.
In their accounting to parliament, cabinet secretaries are expected to appear before committees of the National Assembly or the Senate whenever required by the relevant committees, to answer any question concerning any matter for which each cabinet secretary is responsible. However, legislative and governmental action can be inhibited by executive deliberate bureaucracies on checks and balances, which may not only result in inefficiency but also may create impasse or total entropy due to lack of timely cooperation by a few cabinet secretaries.
Let me get back to the gist of my concern triggered by a response to the fluid state of insecurity in Moyale raised by Hon. Qalicha Gufu was submitted to the Committee on Administration and National Security by the Cabinet Secretary for Interior Dr Fred Matiang’i. The response was read on the floor of the House on 25th March by Hon. Fatuma Gedi who is the substantive vice-chair of the committee. Immediately, tempers flared up which ignited fury from committee members and others who accused Matiang’i of contempt, carelessness, heavy-handedness, indifference and treating them with disdain.
The response was marred with callous, rudderless and reckless monograph. In his signature showmanship, Matiang’i paraded his unique talent wallowing in the most preposterous inanities, suggesting that the minister has a scanty inkling of geo-political dynamics of security issues in Marsabit or could it be a case of deliberate partisanship?. Borana community are portrayed to be aliens and felonious in the cog. It’s no longer a matter of citizens versus citizens. In the statement, Borana community are described as dishonest goons and aliens hell-bent on disturbing other’s peace. Such delirious inconsistencies should worry any sane person.
It is in the public domain that, the trust among neighbours is lost and continues to grow worse, owing to recent killings and ethnic clashes in Funan Qumbi, Funan Idha, Elle-Bor and Elle-Dimtu are the latest in the last two months. With the historical injustices not addressed and “our man” syndrome taking root, the mistrust between these two communities is growing by the day and the government has failed miserably.
More than a decade and a half and countless peace meetings have borne no fruit. Historically, the conflict between the two pastoralist communities was over pasture and water. However, the dynamics have shifted to the control of a Sh7 billion annual fund which points to unhinged political supremacy.
The government has fully-fledged state machinery and proper security operatives to investigate anything within their purview as it is not ideal to rely on prejudiced content drawn from social media and tabled as government official position especially in this age of fake news and misinformation. Matiang’i and ilk failed to conduct proper due diligence and background check on the statement sought by the area MP.
Peace and security are two sides of the same coin – they always walk together. It is the responsibility of the national government to guarantee the safety and security of all citizens, as enshrined in the Constitution. However, all the available anecdotal evidence points to some serious gaps in the capacity and willingness of the various security and administrative branches of the government to play this role fairly and effectively. The bottom line is this: any government that consistently fails to safeguard the security of its own citizens and their property has no legitimacy to govern. Matiang’i should take a cue from Orwa Ojode 101 aka Sirkal.
The fact of the matter is that conflict in Marsabit is local and man-made. Therefore, the solution can only come from us and it is not beyond us. Accepting death, suffering and pain is not an option anymore – let this sink in!