Condemning the Intimidation of Turkana MPs by the State

 Assistant Minister Josphat Nanok who is also Turkana South MP was arrested on Friday night over remarks he made a day earlier on killing of 42 police officers. The MP was picked by police outside the Nation Centre soon after appearing on ‘The Trend’ show.


It is instructive that the MP has been arrested following the killing of police recruits by suspected Turkana militiamen who ambushed the cops in the known death trap that is Suguta Valley in Bargoi, Samburu.

Police HQS have not been able to clarify why recruits who are ill-trained and inexperienced, as well as ill-equipped were deployed to pursue armed bandits in an area that is a known death trap!

The media has increasingly distorted facts through skewed reporting and the public believes that the Turkana MPs were justifying the killing of police officers by Turkana rustlers.

Far from it and on the contrary, the MPs were questioning the rational the government wants to use in disarming one community whilst leaving the others (read Samburu) armed to the the tooth. To both the Turkana and Samburu communities, cattle rustling is a way of life.

During the show hosted by James Smart at NTV Studios, the moderator exhibited open bias shooting up to 80% of his questions to the MP while treating the police spokesman Charles Owino with kid gloves. Hon Nanon was allowed little time to respond and the moderator kept on going for breaks when it was the MP’s turn to talk.

It looks like the Nation Media Group instigated the MPs arrest by misleading him to a trap laid out by the dreaded Flying Squad officers. Mr. Smart  even tweeted later after the MPs arrest that the MP would be charged with incitement to violence! How did he know this? How come the MP was not arrested before the show when he was going about his daily business? Did the Nation intend to stage-manage a scoop over other media houses and increase viewer ratings which were at an all time low last week?

The military deployment leaves more questions than answers. For instance, Turkana villagers have been repeatedly attacked and killed in their hundreds by invading bandits from Kenya and neighbouring Ethiopia, but the Government has never seen it fit to deploy military to protect Turkana citizens. The atrocities committed by the military in Mt. Elgon against civilians is still fresh in our minds.

It is not escaping our attention that the cattle rustling incident is quickly taking the TNA / ODM political fault-lines since Turkana County is known to be solidly ODM, while the Samburu region is a tug-of-war between ODM and TNA. The arrested MP is a member of the ODM Reloaded campaign group. If you visit Bargoi town, the residence know that a certain nominated MP knows more than she is saying about the ambush that led to the police massacre. That MP is TNA aligned and she is not being intimidated by police as is her Turkana counterparts.

It remains to be seen how the police will sustain a trial on basis of remarks the MPs made in parliament buildings where the law gives them immunity from prosecution against anything they say while in parliament.


8 comments on “Condemning the Intimidation of Turkana MPs by the State

  1. This case was never going to see light of day.

    Case against Ethuro and Nanok thrown out
    Wednesday, November 21, 2012 – 00:00 — BY LYDIA MATATA

    The court has dismissed incitement charges against Turkana MPs Ekwe Ethuro and Josephat Nanok. Chief magistrate Kiare Waweru has ruled that the charge sheet was defective.

    He said the words uttered by the MPs over the Baragoi police killings are not enough to charge the two with incitement to violence. The two MPs addressed a press conference in Nairobi on Thursday last week to defend the Turkana community for the killing over 40 police officers by cattle rustlers in Baragoi two weeks ago.

    They told a press conference at Parliament Buildings those who ambushed and killed the policemen in Suguta valley, within Baragoi area in Samburu County were doing so to defend themselves from a ‘state sponsored attack’. Also present during the press conference was Labour minister John Munyes.

    The CID had last week summoned the two MPs, together with Munyes. Nanok ignored summons by the police prompting his arrest by officers from the Flying Squad last Friday shortly after appearing on a television talk show. He claimed the police locked him up after he refused to sign a statement which he had not authored.


    • Some sign of progress in the Judiciary. Nanok’s warning to Kibaki about possibility of ICC indictment should his military deployment trigger genocide in Turkana cannot be incitement by any stretch.


    • Signs of progress in the Judiciary. This was a political attempt by the executive to silence Nanok. It failed. Nanok’s statement to Kibaki about possibility of ICC indictment should his military deployment cause genocide in Turkana should not be taken lightly. Having seen what happened in Garissa and with the history of Mt. Elgon; its time for this retiring CIC to think hard.


  2. Ineptitude, and reckless gamesmanship going on with security. These people are playing with fire…not far from an area where Oil has just been discovered. Mixing bad politics and state-instigated insecurity is what got Somalia where it is.

    A simple cattle rustling issue got politicized; partisan state elements drawn in with catastrophic results…and now the army is preparing to slaughter more of its own citizens.

    Have the police cowed and given up???? They cant even investigate the massacre of their own colleagues? Why has Iteere not resigned by now? This is supposed to be a law and order matter…not an army operation.

    Besides, its not rocket science to predict that any disarmament of one community while leaving neighbouring ones armed is another monumental disaster waiting to happen. Such skewed disarmament exercises often lead to genocide as happened in Darfur….such misguided, hasty and stupid policies are what could lead to the spurring rebel groups….precisely formed along ethnic lines.

    Never have I seen the OP and Internal Security more incompetent than this!!! After Tana River, Baragoi and the now regular grenade attacks, it is safe to conclude there is simply no POLICE in Kenya. The rot has consumed it from within.


    • It’s not that we don’t have enough policemen and women, no country has.
      Our policemen and intelligence community are just but incompetent.

      Since independents the police have been used for the wrong reasons e.g. planting evidence, beating the crap out of people to get false confession, extorting people, extrajudicial killing etc.

      Give these fellows the job of investigating and apprehending criminals and they draw blanks. They just don’t know where to start or what to do.

      My point is that unless we reform and retrain the police we won’t be able to deal with the amateur terrorists causing havoc in Nairobi.


      • I have to agree with you both that dispatching the KDF to pursue and arrest cattle rustlers is an admission of helplessness and profound ineptitude on the part of the Kenya Police and the local administration. From what I gather, prior to this recent loss of lives, there had been ongoing negotiations between the two rival cattle rustling communities (I believe since late October). Why were these talks allowed to collapse? Theft of over 450 head of cattle or approx. 10M Kshs is no joke but I believe where loss is substantial and loss of many lives inevitable, persistent negotiations are bound to prevail. To me, outside of an impossible physical policing presence tasked with stopping one community from venturing into the others territory for rustling adventures, the failure of the negotiations is key to the bloodshed. KDF going in is being sold to the nation as an attempt to end cattle rustling with finality, however, Kenyans know that it is really a revenge mission which will see the lives of innocent citizens ended or permanently disrupted.

        The villagers must now flee but unfortunately many don’t know exactly why. Cattle rustling, and subsequent loss of moran-like lives, has been part and parcel of their cultures for hundreds of years. Entwined between passage to manhood and raising bride price, cattle rustling in many cases makes ‘the man’. Any meaningful final solution must involve the reeducation of all cattle rustling participant communities. The conversation at hand is urgently addressing the stoppage of this latest round of rustling but I believe the larger conversation must be the transitioning of this bloody cultural rite to other forms of human life-friendly activities. Any sociologists out there?

        – Comments in the media suggests many are surprised at the disrespect of government authority. Folks cannot comprehend how ragged rustlers can ambush policemen and expect no retaliation. For one, that locality is an outpost of neglect. The residents are in fact allowed arms to protect themselves. No serious effort has ever been considered to bring the inhabitants to civility. Which is why, helicopters hovering above and the show of military might will be nothing but a passing cloud after enough citizens have been killed. The area will remain a desolate outpost with many unmarked graves.


  3. this is a rather unfortunate turn of events. i think the three MPs had a point to make about the origins and nature of these clashes i.e cattle raids and retaliatory attacks. unfortunately the ill-prepared police force who were sent out to recover stolen livestock were ambushed and mercilessly slaughtered. the statements from the MPs was not well presented or delivered giving rise to the perception that they were insensitive to the plight of the police force and even to the extent that they were in support, this i think is a false perception, but it didn’t help either when the media has gone on an offensive against the MPs who it appears are still unable to correctly articulate their position.

    adding to the confusion is eugene wamalwa’s statement suggesting that disarmament should be suspended for political reasons. when this guy says govt should not do this and that, is he aware that he has a flag flying on his car? sheeesh!!,-Wamalwa-says

    here is john allan namu tryig to put this massacre into perspective


  4. Stop demonizing the Turkana
    by Salim Lone

    We all unite in condemning the killings of the Police in the Suguta Valley and sympathize with all the bereaved families. However, as the country reels from this slaughter, the security operations now underway must assure all communities in the region that no one is being targeted because of their ethnicity.

    At a time when the paramount priority is to make people feel secure in that region, it is heart-breaking to read that thousands of families are leaving their homes in fear of being victimized by their own security forces. This underscores the fact that the solution to this long-standing and complex issue can never be achieved through military means alone.

    We must also ensure that the terrible killing of the Police in Suguta is not used to present the Turkana as a violent and backward community, responsible for all the security problems in the region. As a Kenyan I have no bias for the Turkana as opposed to the Samburu or indeed the Pokot or anybody else. These are all poor struggling communities trying to eke out livings in very difficult environments and competing for scarce resources.

    They have historically been completely marginalized and whenever a consequence of that marginalization rears its ugly head these communities are simply collectively condemned.

    Today’s Sunday Nation highlights how little has been done since the eruption of the conflict nearly 50 years ago. The gross lack of progress was highlighted in the 2008 Kenya National Human Rights Commission report on the violation of rights of both communities during the disarmament exercise in the area.

    The enormity of the Suguta Valley tragedy underscores the vital need for a strenuous effort to be undertaken to remove the tensions between the communities. What is particularly sad about the lack of effective Government action is that the causes of the insecurity and conflict are well known, and mostly revolve around underdevelopment.

    In tackling this crisis, which pertains to most communities struggling to eke out livings in marginalized areas and therefore has implications for the peace and security of all Kenyans, free speech and discussion – obviously free of inflammatory or incendiary rhetoric — are essential. This is particularly the case for Members of Parliament. They are the ones most familiar with conditions in their areas and were elected by their communities to address their constituents’ concerns, including peaceful coexistence with neighbours.


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