Garissa County Commissioner, Joshua Chepchieng’ has asked security agents manning the Tana River Bridge to treat passengers with dignity while inspecting them.
Chepchieng’ said while re-assuring the area residents that the government was not out to harass or intimidate them, and urged the leaders to take the inspection at the barrier in “good faith.”
“The inspection of passengers is done in good faith. It is for the good of all us and any security agents found to have acted overboard will be dealt with as an individual,” Chepchieng’ said.
The County Commissioner was reacting to comments by leaders during Friday’s Madaraka day celebrations, held at Garissa primary school play grounds who alleged that their people were being harassed by security officers manning the Tana bridge barrier.
“It is not fair to take the action of one officer to mean the government position. As a government we know the role the residents have played in restoring and upholding the runaway insecurity witnessed a few years ago,” he said.
“We would not allow actions by a few officers to create bad blood between the government and the residents,” he noted.
Leaders who spoke at the celebrations, among them SUPKEM national organizing secretary, Abdullahi Salat and Galbeth MCA, Abdirizak Ismail, said that requirement that passengers should alight from the bus and queue holding their ID cards up was not only disrespectful but meant to intimidate them.
On reports that 240 people from Liboi had crossed over to Doble in neighbouring Somalia following the abduction of an Iman one week ago that created fear, Chepchieng’ said the matter had been resolved, and it “should remain that way.”
“We held a Baraza, where leaders from the area and area security team led by the Sub-county deputy commissioner met the residents where they assured them of their safety,” he said.
“It is not wise for our people to cross over to Somalia as IDPs while we can talk and resolve issues touching on them. We have explained our position as the government on the matter and it is being addressed appropriately,” he noted.
Chepchieng’ said the incident of the Iman and other people area residents, claim to have been abducted by unknown person will be investigated and the outcome made public.
He said that Kenyans should also learn to build trust in government officials and where they feel issues are not being handled as they wish, should demand more explanation.
“It’s unfair to dismiss and treat government officials as untruthful. Where you feel certain issues have not been addressed properly, use your leaders to seek further clarifications. We are also Kenyans who wish and mean well for our country,” he said.
By Jacob Songok