Garissa%20 peace%20and%20security%20stakeholders%20forum

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Garissa%20 peace%20and%20security%20stakeholders%20forum

  1. 1. Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA) in Collaboration with the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) Peace and Security Stakeholders Forum December 25, 2011 Almond Resort- Garissa ReportBACKGROUND CONCERNS The North-eastern town of Garissa has, in 1. KMYA has noted that if this wave ofthe past two months, been hit by a wave attacks against perceived “outsiders” inof insecurity where several grenade and Garissa is not addressed, it could easilyImprovised Explosive Devise (IED) attacks escalate into a full-blown inter-ethnic inter-have been targeted at certain social, religious conflict in Kenya.religious and residential premises including 2. The attacks targeted at perceivedDadaab Refugee camp which scores of “outsiders” in Garissa are also likely topeople, including security personnel, women complicate Kenya’s military operation inand children, have been killed or injured. Somalia, especially given the fact that While security agencies have been quick Garissa itself is a strategic military outpostto link the attacks with Kenya’s military as far as the war in Somalia is concerned. Ifoperation in Somalia, several stakeholders not addressed, therefore, it may cause thebelieve that there could be more than meets government to employ drastic measures bythe eye. Indeed, the attacks started soon declaring Garissa a security operation andafter Kenya’s incursion into Somali and the probably impose martial law in the regionpeople targeted are non-Somalis working or like it did during the Shifta war.those doing business in the region. It is in view of the above concerns Hence, in the absence of any other that KMYA in collaboration with SUPKEMexplanation, it is correct to conclude that organized the urgent meeting that wasthe wave of attacks in Garissa is some kind held during Christmas holidays to discussof “revenge” or “protest” by some criminal the security situation in Garissa, find possibleelements within and without the Kenyan solutions and understand roles that can beSomali community against Kenya’s military played by the community leaders in ensuringinvolvement in Somalia. It is, therefore, peace prevails in the area.against this background that the KMYAin collaboration with SUPKEM decided to DISCUSSIONuse their grassroots leadership structures toengage religious scholars and Imams, youth • In his welcoming remarks to a well-­and women leaders and opinion shapers attended meeting, Sheikh Abdullahi Siratin constructive dialogue aimed at building of the SUPKEM challenged the participantslinkages with other stakeholders including to be honest to themselves and discuss thethe Provincial Administration (PA) and law issues surrounding the wave of insecurityenforcement agencies to establish the root with soberness and sincerity.cause of the problem and seek workable • He underscored the need to restoresolutions. and protect peace in Garissa, pointing
  2. 2. Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA) in Collaboration with SUPKEM Peace and Security Stakeholders Forum 2out that there is no excuse whatsoever for blessings by taking them for granted. Wesomeone or a group of people to create must use the forum provided by KMYA toinstability in Garissa—a town that was reflect upon ourselves and change ourrecently voted the safest and most peaceful situation by leaving the bad behaviourtown in Eastern and Central Africa. “We must that has been slowly creeping in our midstrestore and protect the pride of Garissa as and return to the path of peace that Allahthe safest and most peaceful town, and blessed us with,” he said.that is why all of us must work together,” said • He encouraged Garissa peopleSheikh Sirat. to be true Muslims who preach peaceful • He conceded that the attacks coexistence among themselves andtargeted at certain people are placing the other people. He said that Islam protectstown on a dangerous trajectory and lauded non-Muslims and the larger communityKMYA for organizing the meeting, which regardless of race, tribe or faith. He also saidprovided the best platform for residents that immigrant and refugee communitiesto come together and seek solutions from should not be discriminated upon.among themselves. Causes of insecurityPeace in Islam In the plenary discussion, different factors • Reiterating the importance of peace, emerged as causes of the insecurity beingSheikh Mohamed Salat Hire, a local Imam, experienced in North Eastern region.reminded the local people that peace isthe virtue of Islam and that term “Islam” itself Participants said that Kenya’s incursionmeans “peace.” Hence, Sheikh Salat said, to Somalia has aggravated the fragileevery local resident of Garissa who claims to situation in North Eastern as youths frombe a Muslim must first and foremost embrace Somalia used it as an excuse to cross overpeace. into Kenya to carry out retaliatory attacks. They also said that some Kenyans from the • He said that Muslims cannot practice region and other parts of the country whotheir religion and worship effectively in are sympathetic to the Al-Shabaab arethe absence of peace, and that is why is involved or facilitated the grenade attacksincumbent upon all Muslims to preach that have rocked the region.peace in their communities. And despite denouncing the attacks, • He lauded the meeting, saying it they also blamed the government’swas timely and important to not only to the reaction, which they said was reactiveresidents of Garissa but the entire region. rather than proactive in dealing with the insecurity. They said that lack of arrests and • Sheikh Hire said that it was right to arraignment in court of suspected attackersreport criminals and those causing trouble showed lack of concern by the governmentand threatening stability to the authorities hence encouraging more attacks.so that they can face justice. He cited theQuranic teachings on striving to do good They also said that the long history ofand eschewing evil, saying that Allah only exclusion has created lack of interest bychanges the situation of people when the local community to cooperate withthey also choose to change it themselves, government in the area. The icy relationshipadding that Allah blesses people with between locals and the governmentpeace and opportunities then they have the machinery had made it difficult for a biggerresponsibility of ensuring it is maintained. population to volunteer information to • “Allah has blessed the people of authorities, not because they fear to giveGarissa with peace and a thriving economy, this information, but just because they lackso we should not play around with these confidence in the government.
  3. 3. 3 Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA) in Collaboration with SUPKEM Peace and Security Stakeholders Forum They youth said that they are not involved Specific concernsin community policing and even in DistrictPeace Committees (DPC) in the region yet Participants said they would like thethey were the once being blamed for the following specific grievances addressedinsecurity in the area. They blamed the elders to ensure that the community feels part ofand the GoK law enforcement agencies Kenyan government.and provincial administration for ignoringthem when forming peace committees and 1. They took issue with lack of identificationcommunity policing initiatives, which are cards for Kenyan youths while someimportant in undermining criminal networks unscrupulous government officers andand intelligence gathering. community leaders were giving aliens these documents. They said corruption by officials According to the youth, the kind of was sidelining Kenyan youth and thoseattacks being carried out in Garissa are benefiting were aliens. They wondered howundertaken with the sophistication that they could be expected to cooperate withthe elders do not know. In this regard, they a system that corruptly favours aliens at thewonder how the elders alone can be given expense of local citizens.the task of running security committees andexpected to deal with criminal activities 2. They felt that the Somali communityexecuted by people who possess the was being targeted everywhere they areknowledge and sophistication that the found – not just in Somalia but also in otherelders don’t have. The youth, therefore, parts of Kenya. They cited an incident incomplained that they were not being given Kitui where a number of Somali businessmenany roles in the area and so they just sit were attacked by the local people onback and watch as criminal activities are suspicion of being Al-Shabaab operatives.perpetuated under their noses. In this regard, they said there was need for the government to tackle the issue of The youth also admitted that some xenophobia against ethnic Somalis to ensureyoung people are being recruited into terror peaceful coexistence.groups where they feel they are useful andgain some income. 3. They also lamented over marginalization and exclusion, saying that government Divided opinion (clan factors) and had neglected their province and itspursuit of self-interest among elders were boundaries.cited as impediments to a united approachto secure peace in the region. These divisions 4. They also cited language barrier as anhave caused fragmentation in the Garissa impediment to cooperation between theand the entire North Eastern society such community and government agencies.that it has compromised the good relationsbetween residents. 5. The collapse of the community policing structures has also contributed to Participants agreed that lack of forums rampant insecurity. Participants said thatand platforms, which bring residents together, there are no proper mechanisms to knowwas also a hindrance to securing peace and monitor strangers coming to the area,because people have no platform to come hence making it difficult for local peopletogether to formulate ways of engaging to share intelligence information with theeach other on the community’s problems government. In this regard, local peopleand how to engage the government. were asked to be on the look out of strangers in their midst and establish mechanisms of sharing information about suspicious characters.
  4. 4. Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA) in Collaboration with SUPKEM Peace and Security Stakeholders Forum 4 6. Collusion between some locals and 4. Encourage unity amongst differentcriminal elements was also cited as a big ethnicities and clans in the region.concern. Participants conceded that therewas a network of collusion and cover-ups 5. Community leaders should guide thebetween some locals, GoK and criminal government truthfully by divorcing self-elements. In this regard, they called for the interest from public affairs.exposure and break-up of this networkby establishing a trusted mechanism of 6. The host community, refugees andinformation-sharing and encouraging a security officers should be holding regularculture of reporting criminal elements and dialogue forums to discuss emergingactivities in their midst. Once criminals and issues and find common and acceptabletheir accomplices know that they could be solutions.exposed, they would not dare set base in theregion. They were however concerned that 7. Creating of job opportunities for theGoK especially security agencies does not youth would ease insecurity in the area.respond to complains raised by the localsagainst rogue officers. They cited an example 8. Government should be more proactiveof rape cases against refugees in Dadaab than reactive in its security strategies. Theand a well-­known human trafficker operating security agencies should abandon the oldlocally with impunity. According to one of methods of policing where they met outthe participants, the said person transports collective punishment whenever there isillegal refugees/immigrants to Nairobi and its an attack in the region because this leavesenvirons. a bitter taste in the mouth of the majority residents who are usually innocent and whoResolutions of the forum feel harassed by police instead of being safeguarded. The participants agreed that the followingwould form the way forward towards attaining 9. The government should be proactivepeace. and demonstrate that it is on top of things by arresting criminals and arraigning them 1. The District Peace Committees and in court in order to show its responsibility incommunity policing structures should be re- security matters in the region.constituted and the youth given significantroles to play. Nomination of young people 10. The community should endeavour toand other community leadership structures coexist peacefully with other communitiesto these organs should be done in a wherever they are.transparently. 11. There should be a proper working 2. The GoK should consider redeploying relationship between age groups,back officers of Somali ethnic community religious and opinion leaders, and electedin the region to forge and promote good representatives.relations between locals and law enforcementagencies, as they understand the language 12. There should be enhanced informationand culture. They cited the example of and communication between communityformer Provincial Commissioner Mohamed and government.Saleh who within a very short time was ableto restore peace in the region. 13. Each of the five locations of Garissa should form peace committees with a 3. Leaders in the area should embrace mandate of sharing information andforums in which all community stakeholders discussing peace issues. The committeeswould be involved in discussing emanating should at least meet twice per week at theproblems and seeking solutions collectively. moment.
  5. 5. 5 Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA) in Collaboration with SUPKEM Peace and Security Stakeholders Forum 14. Suspects and alleged criminals in thecustody of authorities should be treated 7.Mohamud Adon- Elder, Garissahumanely according to the provisions of the community2010 constitution. 8. Muktar Ibrahim- Elder, Garissa community 15. The current non-performing communitypolicing apparatus should be disbanded 9. Bare Aden- Youth leader, KMYA Garissaand peace committees reorganised toinclude all community representatives. 10. Musa Mohamed- Youth leader 16. Minority groups should be supported 11. M/s Khatra Iman- KMYA Garissa countyand safeguarded from harassment and officialexclusion from representative organizationsand leadership structures. 12. M/s Zeitun Mohamed- Garissa Post Test Club (GPTC) 17. There should be concerted effort tohelp end the human trafficking that is rife in Word of advicethe area. In his closing remarks, KMYA chief 18. There should be a total overhaul of executive officer who is also Deputysecurity apparatus in the region, as it has Secretary General of Supkem Hassan Olebecome evident that the working relationship Naado urged participants to promotebetween the Kenya Police and the Provincial peace because without it, there can be noAdministration is not at its best. development. He reminded the participants Immediate action plan that the best solutions to the challenges affecting their region would come from There was need to organise an urgent among themselves as they are the onesmeeting with the Provincial Administration who understand themselves better.and the local members of parliament to helpin implementing the resolutions of the forum. “While the insecurity might last for aA committee was therefore formed to plan short time, its impact may have long-termthe meeting and also work together with effects on the socioeconomic wellbeing ofother County representative committees. the people of this region,” the KMYA chiefThe following committee members were said.nominated through consensus: In this regard, Mr Ole Naado called upon the people of Garissa to be proactive and1. Sheikh Ali Gure- Chairman, Garissa get involved in establishing peace andMediation Council (GMC) harmony in the area. This move would go a long way in helping the Somali community2. Sheikh Hassan Abdullahi-­ SUPKEM Official living outside the region by sending a clear message that Somalis are peaceful people3. Sheikh Mohamed Hirey- Muslim scholar, who do not condone reckless assault onGarissa Mediation Council peace. He noted that there was danger of4. Sheikh Abdirashid Adow- Muslim scholar, xenophobia reaction from other KenyanSUPKEM official communities against Somalis if there were no strong actions taken against the5.Hamud Sheikh- Pastoralist Shade Initiative perception that Somalis were waging war on other Kenyans.6. Dofil Digale-­ Chief  Executive  Officer,  Kenya  Muslim  Youth  Alliance   P.O.  Box  27592-­00100  GPO,  Nairobi  Tel:  020  386  1530/1 E-­mail:  olenaado@kmya.org      Website:  www.kmya.org  /  www.thenewdawn.info

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