MPs, envoy and church leader named in Tana chaos

Judge Grace Nzioka, the chairperson of the judicial inquiry into Tana Delta clashes (left) makes a ruling at Maridhiano Hall, Minjila, in Tana River County on October 18, 2012. With her is Commissioner Abdul Qadir Lorrot.

What you need to know:

  • The commission investigating the Tana River clashes has said it would look into historical factors and events that culminated in the violence.
  • Lady Justice Grace Nzioka said the team’s mandate is not restricted to the recent clashes but would also look at previous reports, inquiries and investigations to establish the root causes of the clashes.
  • “We shall go into the archives and critically examine the chronology of all these events that have led to the skirmishes. So give us any information as old as history because if you do not, we may lose it all,” she told residents recently.

Leaders who allegedly contributed to the deaths of more than 100 people in Tana River clashes were on Thursday named. Read (Police probe tycoons linked to Coast gangs)

Two MPs, a minister, a former envoy and a Christian religious leader were named in a commission of inquiry into the clashes.

However, commission chairperson Lady Justice Grace Nzioka barred the media from publishing the names until the individuals were informed, so that they can appear before the inquiry.

Witnesses, who gave evidence in camera for the second day, named leaders they believed took part in the bloody clashes that claimed 112 lives, including nine police officers and displaced 120,000.

At the same time, suspended Livestock Development assistant minister and Galole MP Major (Rtd) Dhadho Gadhae Godhana told the commission he wanted to give evidence.

His lawyer, Mr Kamoti Mwamkale, said Mr Godhana had a right to be heard as he had been suspended and charged with crimes on the clashes.

Lady Justice Nzioka directed him to apply in writing. She also overruled assisting counsel Wamuti Ndegwa’s bid to stop the full participation of the Tana River Pokomo Council of Elders (Gasa).

Mr Ndegwa had said: “If the commission allows Gasa to fully participate, it could be reduced to a forum for tribal contests. What if other groups also make applications? This is dangerous.”

He also claimed that Gasa had no list of members except that of the chairman, Mr Omar Babo.

He said it was not a legal entity but an “opaque group” that was not implicated in the clashes or being investigated.

“Gasa should be allowed limited participation. It should only submit oral and written evidence on the Pokomo culture and peace initiatives,” he said.

But Lady Justice Nzioka said Gasa had a certificate of registration from the government.

She said the rules allowed any interested party to give evidence.

“This commission is not a court. It is a public inquiry where the rules of procedure may not be strictly followed. We have the capacity to control and lead the procedures to make sure they fall within the jurisdiction of the law,” she said.

Meanwhile, the State has told a court in Garsen that it intends to file more serious charges against six chiefs and assistant chiefs from Tana River.

The administrators from Ozi, Kitere and Kilelengwani villages were in court for the hearing of their case in which they are charged with incitement to violence, disobedience of the law and failure to act on intelligence from the Kipini District Officer.

They have denied the charges and were freed on a bond of Sh200,000 by resident magistrate Justus Kituku until the hearing on December 18.

The magistrate also ordered the transfer of 17 Pokomo inmates from Mtangani prison to Shimo la Tewa jail in Mombasa after they fought with other inmates from the Orma tribe.