The King of the Wailwana community in Tana River County, Mzee Ramadhan Divai Babisani, has resigned from his post, citing health issues and internal conflicts within the community over his leadership.
Babisani, who has been the leader of the community for 17 years, said that he had been diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure, making him unable to lead because some of his duties include intervening in conflict resolution, which, according to him, cannot continue because of his health interests.
In March this year, the Wailwana community in Madogo ward clashed with other neighbouring communities, leading to the deaths of two people.
While the main suspects were arrested and charged in court, the elders from the warring communities sat down and decided that the families of the deceased be paid Sh1 million each as compensation.
Speaking to the press on Monday as he tendered his resignation, Babisani regretted that the community had not raised even a quarter of the amount, which could lead to more conflicts.
“We have not been able to raise the amount we are supposed to pay for compensation in the last six months. We had an extension of two months with the help of our area deputy county commissioner, and still we have done nothing,” Babisani said.
“The reason why we have not been able to raise this money is because some of our members have been inciting others against it, and this is why I am resigning so that my community can choose someone else whom they will respect and follow his guidance,” he added.
He pleaded with the communities they are supposed to compensate to be patient and give them time as they organise themselves with new leadership to solve the matter.
All communities in the Northeastern region and parts of Tana River County have their own leaders, commonly referred to as kings and council of elders, who give direction in conflict resolution, settle border conflicts, and resolve family issues, while others extend to the nomination of candidates for political offices.
These councils work closely with the security apparatus, and they are able to police their communities and handle small cases, giving the chiefs and police officers less work.
By Erick Kyalo