By David Onyango Ochola
I want to start by expressing my deepest condolence and sympathy to the families of Kisumu City who have lost their love ones through the attacks and killings which have been going on over the last one month. I acknowledge the anger and desperation of my County residences arising from the spiralling insecurity and rising tension in the county.
The heinous killings in Kisumu that has claimed over 40 lives of Kenyans, a massacre that has been ongoing, sent shock waves across the Republic of Kenya and beyond begging the questions: Where is the security? Where is the intelligence? Where are the police? And what happened to the various road blocks? This is just another indicator of the overgrown insecurity; which has continuously repeated itself over and over again. Similar situations have been witnessed in other parts of the Republic. It seems our security agencies have failed to unearth and prevent a single attempt.
The increased reported cases of insecurity in Kisumu County is causing anxiety, jitters and fear among business operators and workers in the city leading to loss of investor confidence and subsequent relocation of businesses resulting into massive job losses for a county that is already strained in terms of creating jobs.
Kisumu residents are living in fearâ€¦the women cannot wake up early to get to Kibuye market for fresh supply of vegetables to their stalls. Those going to offices and work places that require them to venture out before sunlight cannot dare to. Investors in Kisumu are counting losses because they cannot open their businesses early and neither can they close late â€“ this even as we aim to become a 24 hour economy.
I personally as a leader am concerned that this reported cases of insecurity continue to escalate despite the County governmentâ€™s commitment in addressing the same that now threatens to destabilize our peace in Kisumu and unless immediate remedial measures are undertaken by the County government towards seeking a lasting solution to the matter, the growing fear in terms of unemployment rates will no doubt fuel further insecurity where almost over 40 people have been killed by criminal gangs in a crime wave in the past one month in the county.
This is the reason why I stand with and support the residence of Kisumu County who came out today to say no and demand for the immediate action by both the National Government and County. There are some police officers whom must be reshuffle with immediate effects including some regional security personnelâ€™s. County Government under the leadership of H.E Jack Ranguma (Governor) must also up their game in realizing the call for safety to our constituents of Kisumu.
Furthermore, the unemployment problem facing the county also must be addressed. Over 75% of the population of Kenya is under 35 years old faced by the challenges of unemployment, harassment by the organs of the state, exclusion from political participation, poverty and the uncertainty of tomorrow, the Kenya Youth are generally an angry lot and can be easily manipulated by situations they are facing. This problem facing the country, Kisumu is not exempted from it. These are some of the situations causing insecurity among our towns.
Since insecurity has been a national crisis since jubilee government was put in place and In view of the foregoing I call upon both the National Government in partnership and networking with the County Governments to:
1) Rethink its security measures and policing to match the ever dynamic insecurity challenges
2) Reorganize and re-orient the national intelligences to focus more on collecting criminal intelligence as opposed to political intelligence.
3) Be pro-active to insecurity situation to prevent possible criminal activities than being reactive which often leads to arbitrary arrests, detection and abuse of human rights
4) Pursue and conclude the Police reforms agenda as informed by the constitution and the other relevant laws
5) Pursue ways and means to address some of the longstanding issues including economic drivers of conflict (youth unemployment, poverty, exclusion, land rights and historical grievances)
6) The political class ought to work for Kenyans and to stop manipulating ethnic identity and fuelling conflict that sometimes lead to loss of lives.
Thank You and May God bless Kisumu and the Republic of Kenya