Government finally finds replacement for chief murdered in Lamu a year ago

Lamu village

A village in Lamu.

Photo credit: Kalume Kazungu | Nation Media Group

The national government has finally managed to get a replacement for the Mbwajumwali Location Chief's position which was left vacant following the murder of Senior Chief Mohamed Haji Famau alongside his assistant Malik Athman Shee of Myabogi Sub-Location a year ago.

The two were attacked and slashed to death with machetes inside their office in Mbwajumwali town on December 11 last year.

They were murdered by two men dressed in buibui and whose faces were hidden in veils.

The government has for the past one year been placing advertisements seeking to fill the positions without success.

In July this year, the government admitted facing challenges in replacing the chiefs as residents were reluctant to submit applications for the jobs for fear of being a target by the machete-wielding gangs in Lamu East.

Speaking to the Nation on Wednesday, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirmed that the Mbwajumwali Location chief's position has successfully been filled but they were yet to get a replacement for the assistant chief's position at Myabogi.

Mr Macharia encouraged citizens in Lamu East to submit their applications for the job, insisting that the government has done all it takes to ensure safety of the local administrators.

"So far we've found a replacement for the chief's position at Mbwajumwali. For the Myabogi Sub-Location assistant chief's position, we're still in the process. We pray that people submit their applications for the job. They shouldn't be worried. The government has done all it takes to protect its administrators in the area and across Lamu County," said Mr Macharia.

Most residents in remote villages of Lamu East such as Mbwajumwali, Myabogi, Tchundwa and surrounding areas have in recent days been viewing the chief's position as a curse, bearing in mind that several incidents of chiefs being killed by unknown people have been witnessed in the region.

Mr Hassan Ali urged the government to ensure those targeting and killing local administrators are unearthed and dealt with so as to serve as an example to others.

"First, let the government find the reasons behind the killing of our chiefs. Let it also ensure those behind the killings are dealt with. We can't just go ahead to apply for such posts and end up dying just like that. We need State assurance in as far as security of chiefs is concerned," said Mr Ali.

Apart from the December 11, 2019 incident where the two chiefs were killed inside the Mbwajumwali office, other similar incidents have occurred within the same area.

In April 22, 2019, Ms Amina Bakari, 30, who was a volunteer peer educator with the Kenya Red Cross Society and a Nyumba Kumi official, was slashed to death with a panga by unknown people as she closed her shop at around 11pm in Mbwajumwali Village.

On June 10, 2016, Mbwajumwali Senior Chief Mohamed Shee Mohamed was hacked to death by unknown assailants while on his way to work.

Mrs Fatma pleaded with the government to devise effective ways of protecting chiefs in the area, including directly arming them with guns and also providing them with bodyguards.