BORDER DISPUTE

Godhana sues Korane for 'stoking ethnic violence'

Tana River governor says his Garissa counterpart and two others have been fuelling conflicts that have led to bloodshed

In Summary

• Godhana says Korane, Garissa Deputy Governor Dagane Muhumed and Faafi MP Abdikadir Osman have been fuelling conflicts through speeches and actions.

• His decision to seek legal redress follows a war of words pitting leaders from the two counties against each other over a border dispute. 

Governor Ali Korane in Garissa town on Friday
BORDER DISPUTE: Governor Ali Korane in Garissa town on Friday
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana wants his Garissa counterpart Ali Korane arrested and charged with incitement to ethnic violence.

Godhana, through lawyer Tom Ojienda, says Korane, Garissa Deputy Governor Dagane Muhumed and Faafi MP Abdikadir Osman have been fuelling conflicts through speeches and actions, which, he adds, have led to bloodshed.

His decision to seek legal redress follows a war of words pitting leaders from the two counties against each other over a border dispute. They have traded accusations of incitement.

In court documents, Godhana says the boundary dispute has existed for many years and led to clashes but has been intensified hate remarks by Garissa leaders.

"The dispute intensified when Garissa county, led by the governor and his deputy, began to build their administrative units within Tana River county. There was so much resistance and human conflict, which led to several meetings and deliberations between leaders from the two counties,” Godhana says.

He adds that the three politicians took to the podium in a public function and incited Garissa residents to attack and maim Tana River leaders and people who are not of Somali descent.

Korane also incited the Somali community to destroy properties belonging to the Pokomos and other ethnic groups in Tana River, Godhana says. "They also instructed the Somalis to kill policemen if they stood in their way."

The coastal county chief says Korane and the other politicians have gone further to slander him. He says his defamatory remarks were captured on a video portraying him as corrupt, lacking in integrity, and being a landgrabber and illegal expansionist.

According to the court documents, Interior CS Interior Fred Matiang’i, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Hajji, the National Police Service (NPS) and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) have not taken any step to contain the volatile situation, whereas they are empowered under the Constitution and statuses to act.

Godhana wants Matiang’i and Haji compelled to order the NPS and the NCIC to investigate, arrest and charge the three Garissa leaders for publishing hate speech and inciting citizens. Also sought is an order stopping them from propagating hate speech and making misleading and defamatory remarks in public gatherings, on social and print media, or at any other forum against him and his Tana River residents.

Godhana says Korane and the duo continue to engage in bad publicity, character assassination and incitement of public spite against him.  

"The false and misleading words made by the three and the incessant bad publicity are malicious, false, reckless and beyond the frontiers of the freedom of speech as recognised under the Constitution," the documents read.

He argues that his reputation will be ruined and he risks attracting public spite, particularly among residents of Tana River, and unless the three are restrained, the already volatile security situation would deteriorate with the possibility of further bloodshed.

(Edited by F'Orieny)