Top Stories / National
Monday, 24 Apr 2017 16:04 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Kenyans on social media were today alarmed after President Uhuru Kenyatta condemned the shooting and wounding of a white woman (Laikipia Nature Conservancy director Kuki Gallman) yesterday while completely ignoring six Kenyans killed in a similar attack in the Kerio Valley. Both attacks were perpetrated by cattle rustlers.
Since the advent of a prolonged drought last August, dozens of Kenyans have died and thousands displaced from their homes following repeated clashes between pastoralists and sedentary communities in such arid regions as Baringo, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Laikipia, Garissa, Kitui and Isiolo among others. In yesterday's incident, the six were shot dead at Kapkobil Junction, Kerio Valley, on Saturday, in shootout between Pokot raiders and police reservists.
President Kenyatta through State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu in a statement from State House Nairobi said “The President condemns the attack on Laikipia Nature Conservancy Director Kuki Gallmann, who was shot and wounded by raiders on her ranch. Ms Gallmann has been airlifted to Nairobi for medical attention and she is in a stable condition. The Inspector-General of Police will issue a detailed statement on the incident and how security agents are responding to it”.
This was the second time the president was being accused of racism in relation to how he treats Kenyans. Last year, the president was censured for giving seats to white schoolchildren who paid him a courtesy call at State House while having black kids in a similar visit squat on the ground.
The white kids were from the exclusive Pembroke House School while the black ones were from Titus Ngoyoni Memorial Primary School in Marsabit County. The students visited State House on different dates but posed for a photo with the president from the same spot - the main entrance.
In March, the government also deployed security forces to Laikipia and condemned the killing of a British man and founder of Sosian conservancy Tristan Voorspuy but did nothing close for the killing of dozens in Kerio Valley. The British government also condemned the killing and urged the government to beef security in the area.
In the rush to show action was being taken on the rancher's killing, Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel was arrested and detained, but Nanyuki principal magistrate Waititu Gichimu later released him after the prosecution failed to give compelling reasons to continue detaining him in police custody.
As the killings by raiders continued into early this month, not many officials seemed alarmed including the President and Inspector General of the Police. In reacting to Ms Gallmann's attack yesterday, the president warned politicians in the area not to inflame temperatures through reckless rhetoric. “Politicians encouraging invasions of privately-owned property or attacks on individuals can expect strong deterrent action in terms of the law”.
"A white rancher Kuti Gillman is shot by bandits in Laikipia. President Uhuru through this Isipisu man rushed to condemn the bandits for shooting the rancher. In Elgeyo Marakwet, two people are shot dead by bandits. Uhuru sees it as normal African killing each other. Neither him nor Esipisu talks about it. Is it a case of racism or capitalism? I see both at play here," wrote lawyer Soyinka Lempaa in a Facebook post that sparked a vibrant debate on the subject. Earlier news from Kerio Valley indicated that only two people had been killed.