Curfew in parts of Lamu elicits campaign jitters among politicians

The 90 day dusk to dawn curfew imposed on certain parts of Lamu andTana River Counties has elicited mixed reactions from local politicians.

Some of the leaders noted that the restrictions were likely to impact negatively on their campaign programs.

Acting Internal Security Minister Dr. Fred Matiangi, on Saturday evening issued a gazette public order on parts of Lamu, Garissa and Tana River Counties, Holugho Border Point, Galmagala, Sangailu, Masalani, Bodhei, Barsuba, Baurre, Milimani, Ijara, Hola Kiunga ,Garsen , Ishakani and Dar-es-Salaam Border Point.

The curfew starts from 6:30 PM to 6:30 AM and is in place for 90 days from Saturday July 8th.

Incumbent Lamu Women Representative Shakila Abdalla, who spoke to KNA on phone sharply criticized the move, stating that the top security bosses in Lamu have failed to secure the county and have resorted to oppressing locals through the imposition of curfews.

She stated that the recent attacks were a harsh indictment over the security agents’ lethargy in tackling insecurity in Lamu, adding that it was unlikely to thaw the already frosty police community relations within the coastal town.

Lamu residents have been subject to not only these brutal attacks but also persistent road block checks and previous curfews such as the one in 2014 which impacted negatively on the economy of Lamu, Shakila stated.

She noted that besides the economy of Lamu being affected, politicians’ best laid plans for a smooth campaign season have been also been interrupted due to what she termed as the failure of top County security bosses to secure the County.

It is a well-known fact that the County and in general the country’s borders are porous mainly through the Boni Forest which militants have realized has not been secured, the Women Representative stated.

She lamented that it is the security agents’ lax attitude that has allowed the armed militia to have a free reign of terror in Lamu and neighbouring counties which now have curfews imposed on certain parts.

The county security agents need to think outside the box rather than impose curfews every time there is an incident in Lamu as these impositions affect lives and increasingly lead to the perception that certain parts and communities in Kenya are to be profiled and marginalized.

Sentiments reiterated by Wiper Democratic Movement gubernatorial candidate Swaleh Imu, who stated that the curfew is an unwelcome introduction in Lamu, especially during campaign period, which he noted is likely to be hurt by the restrictions.

He, however, took a softer stance, stating that the curfews though unfortunate may be a necessary evil in a bid to secure the county that suffered unconventional attacks in the past two weeks.

Former Lamu West Member of Parliament (MP) and Jubilee party candidate Fahim Twaha, also decried the imposed curfew, which he said is necessary in restoring peace in Lamu.

The attacks have increased tensions in Lamu and there is need to secure and monitor movements, especially at night, which is when the attacks occur, Fahim said.

Lamu County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri however reaffirmed the government’s position on the curfew which he said was aimed at improving security in the area, noting the volatility and constant unconventional attack from the Al-Shabaab militants.

Source: Kenya News Agency