Raila pledges to resolve runaway insecurity in Kenya’s north

Raila Odinga address Isiolo residents in Garbatulla

Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga address Isiolo residents in Garbatulla on June 21, 2022. He promised to deal with runaway insecurity in the region if elected president.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga Tuesday sought the support pastoralists communities, pledging to resolve the runaway insecurity in northern Kenya “once and for all” if he wins the August 9 General Election.

Responding to Isiolo leaders' concern that insecurity had led to untold suffering among the residents, Mr Odinga said his government will ensure the matter is addressed for locals to live in peace.

Over the last few days, at least 10 people have been killed in bandit attacks in the county.

"Security is paramount for the development of any area and we will ensure that all Kenyans are safe wherever they are. We cannot allow people to kill each other. I have also noted concerns of disputes on Isiolo, Marsabit and Wajir borders and we will also look into this matter," Mr Odinga said.

He was speaking during a rally in Garbatula where he said that during a rally in Merti, residents had also expressed similar concerns.

Mr Odinga was hosted by Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo, Jubilee gubernatorial candidate Abdi Guyo and former Isiolo North MP Joseph Samal who is vying on a Jubilee ticket. He was accompanied by former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, Jubilee deputy chairman David Murathe and Unguja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

Actualise Vision 2030

Mr Odinga said he would actualise the Vision 2030 blueprint in which Isiolo County was envisaged to be a resort city. He said with the planned building of the Isiolo-Mandera road, the town would be transformed into a manufacturing hub with the establishment of a special economic zone.

"I am the one who designed the Isiolo-Moyale road and I know how we are going to transform northern Kenya into a prosperous region. We had this plan in the Kibaki administration and I will make sure it is realised," he said, adding that leather industries would also be established in the area.

"We will also build a refinery in Isiolo that will supply fuel to Ethiopia and other countries in the region. All these projects will provide jobs for our youth," said Mr Odinga.

Land speculators

He warned that his government would not buy land from speculators who had bought huge chunks along the LapsseT corridor, saying his administration would compulsorily acquire land for the projects.

Mr Murathe assured parties in Azimio La Umoja that nobody would be victimised in any way and that “we are all in one house”.

Gubernatorial candidate Guyo said the country will only realise more development if Mr Odinga’s becomes the President.

“I appeal to all of you to elect Mr Odinga in the August elections because he will fight graft and direct the resources to development and empowerment of our people,” Mr Guyo said.

Mr Guyo, Senator Dullo, woman rep contenders Mumina Bonaya (Jubilee) and Sumeya Bishar of DAP-K appealed to Mr Odinga to help resolve insecurity in the region should he clinch the top seat.

Pastoralism threatened

The leaders lamented that incessant attacks had made it difficult for the residents to undertake pastoralism which is the region’s economic mainstay.

“We want the government to establish buffer zones along the Wajir, Garissa and Samburu borders to end the bandit attacks which have claimed tens of lives in the recent past,” Mr Guyo said.

Ms Bonaya said in most cases, the stolen animals are never recovered, threatening pastoralism.

Eleven people have been killed in the last 10 days in four banditry attacks in Bulle, Dogogicha, Kom Durte and Manyatta Zebra with over 1,000 animals stolen.

Ms Dullo appealed for compensation of victims of human-wildlife conflicts and asked Mr Odinga to, if elected, address land disputes pitting Burat residents and the military.

“Many families have lost their loved ones but are yet to be compensated for the damages and loss,” she said.

Youth employment

Ms Bishar asked the Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate to prioritise youth employment if elected, saying majority of them had turned to drugs due to unemployment.

“We want a government that recognises and empowers the young people through provision of top jobs in the government,” she said.

The leaders also lobbied for tarmacking of Isiolo-Merti road to ease transport along the route and the revival of Garbatulla High school which was once a national school.

“We also want the Garbatulla Technical Institute completed and equipped to ensure our youth get skills for employment,” Ms Bonaya said.

Mr Odinga promised to ensure completion of the export abattoir that has stalled for over 10 years to ensure pastoralists benefit and export their products.

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