“Tribesmen have attacked a village in southeastern Kenya, torching homes and sparking clashes that killed at least 38 people, in the latest round of tit-for-tat ethnic violence to plague the area”, Aljazeera reports.
The clashes between the Pokomo farming community and their Orma pastoralist neighbours have left 52 dead last month in Kenya’s worst tribal killings in years. The latest attack was on a Pokomo village, after last month’s attack on an Orma settlement.
The two rival communities have clashed repeatedly over the use of land and water resources. The Pokomo are a largely settled farming people, planting crops along the Tana River, while the Orma are mainly cattle-herding pastoralists.
Having in mind that elections are to take place in six months, some communities try to impede members from their opposing communities within some constituencies where they want to position candidates for elective positions.
Are these only small-scale attacks between enemy ethnic groups in remote rural areas generated by land or water resources, far away from politics, or does it remind us of the large scale inter-tribal violence and the political standoff between the Government of President Kibaki and the Orange Democratic Movement led by Raila Odinga after the elections at the end of 2007?
Is Kenyan political and civil society leadership mindful of the scope this violence could reach? Are they focusing urgently on the means to build a peaceful, shared society, and are they conscious their commitment towards that goal should be defined ahead of elections in order to prevent further electoral and post electoral violence?
Is the longer term already a concern for Kenyan leadership, and they already thinking about a plan of action for future inter-community relations?