RESIDENTS OF MPEKETONI DEFIED UHURU
POLICE were yesterday following a theory that animosity resulting from a broken pre-election agreement between two major communities could have contributed to the attacks in Mpeketoni.
Ahead of the 2013 elections, Uhuru – then Deputy Prime Minister – had urged TNA politicians in the larger Lamu County to concentrate on MCA positions.
He advised that Kikuyus should leave the Governor, Senate and National Assembly positions to the indigenous residents of Lamu.
In meetings with the politicians in mid-July 2012, Uhuru is said to have urged the Kikuyus to negotiate for a Deputy Governor position.
According to insiders, Uhuru’s thinking was that Lamu residents had always elected indigenous people to Parliament but “immigrants” had chances in lower positions.
Yesterday multiple police sources and senior government officials camping in Mpeketoni since Tuesday told the Star the local Swahili people have been unhappy with members of the Kikuyu community.
“In confidence, the Swahili have told us that they have felt short-changed because they had an informal agreement on sharing political seats that was not respected.
“Apparently, they had agreed that the key seats of MP, Senator and Governor be given to the locals, while the Kikuyu and other communities go for MCA and Deputy Governor positions”.
The area MP is Julius Ndegwa, who got 11,560 votes against Rashid Amana’s 10,939 and TNA’s Tahir Sheik’s 5,876 votes. The Deputy governor of Lamu is Eric Mugo and yesterday he denied knowledge of any pre-election pact.
“I was born and bred here and I have been a politician for a long time. I’m not aware of any political agreement between the Kikuyu and Swahili,” said Mugo.
Ndegwa also denied knowledge of any pre-election pact, but accused losing opponent Amana of fomenting trouble.
“It is not normal for someone to lose an election six times. This man has been calling us Kafiri (infidels). This is not right,” said Ndegwa.
Without being specific, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday linked the attacks to local political networks.
“The attack in Lamu was well-planned, orchestrated, and politically-motivated ethnic violence against a Kenyan community, with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons… This, therefore, was not an al-Shabaab terrorist attack.
“Evidence indicates that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of the heinous attacks. This also played into the opportunist networks of other criminal gangs,” said the President in a live televised address to the nation.
On Wednesday, Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku appeared to second the President’s remarks when he told the Star on the phone from Mpeketoni, “I can tell you for sure that Mpeketoni was all politics and we will no longer allow anyone to play politics with Kenyans’ lives”.
Yesterday, a number of people in the area’s Kikuyu communities who were aware of the President’s pre-election intervention, said Uhuru’s plan was met with resistance, leading to Kikuyu TNA candidates jumping ship after failing to secure nominations.
One of those who jumped ship is the current Lamu West MP, Kariuki Ndegwa, who moved to the Kenya National Congress, whose Presidential candidate was Peter Kenneth.
In Lamu West, the TNA candidate was Ahmedsabir Tahir, while in Lamu East Uhuru’s party nominated Salim Mohammed. Both lost in the elections. Ndegwa won Lamu West on Kenneth’s KNC ticket while Sharif Athman won in West, where the Swahilis predominate.
TNA won the Senate seat through former Lamu East MP Abu Chiaba and narrowly lost the governorship to UDF’s Issa Timamy.
The TNA governorship candidate was Fahim Twaha, a three-time MP for Lamu West.
Nairobi politicians David Waihiga Mwaura of Agano Party and former Nominated MP Betty Njeri Tett were also among candidates in the Mpeketoni elections.
Waihiga was a gubernatorial candidate while Tett vied for the Lamu West seat on a Farmer’s Party ticket after failing to secure TNA’s.