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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 23 November 2014

IS ASMAMA KAMAMA A WAR LORD?

Pressure is mounting on Tiaty MP Asman Kamama to come out and clear his name over allegations that he is the one fanning cattle rustling that has resulted into tribal wars  along  the borders of Pokot and Baringo counties.
Kamama who is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Security and Administration has however denied claims that he was a warlord and that he has been funding criminal gangs involved in cattle rustling. “Even if you bring FBI or CIA, nothing will be found because I am as clean as a snow,” he said.
Kamama has also come out strongly in defence of the Pokot against allegations that the Pokot have an armed militia formed to fight the government.
Since the government launched operations in Pokot and Baringo counties, Pokot leaders led by Kamama have been opposed to the operations with claims that they were targeting the Pokot.
Kamama has also differed with the Rift Valley regional commissioner Osman Warfa who has come out to support the operations of mopping up guns.
Trouble for Kamama began immediately the Baringo county Speaker Kassait Kamket was arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as he waited to board a plane to Turkey. Sources say his arrest was in connection with recent killings in Baringo. Following his arrest, some residents of Kabarnet in Baringo held demonstrations demanding that Kamama also be arrested.
Kamama has also brought on board other Pokot legislators to defend the Pokot community against what they termed as government’s harassment and intimidation of their people. The legislators working closely with Kamama are Samuel Moroto (Kapenguria), David Pkosing (Pokot South), Mark Lomunolol (Kacheliba) and West Pokot county women rep Regina Renyis. 
Claims that Kamama is a warlord came out after he publicly condemned the manner in which the Kenya Defence Forces officers have been harshly dealing with the locals.
Last week, Kamama denied allegations by some residents of Kapedo and police intelligence that he was involved in the Saturday attack that led to the death of 21 AP officers.
There have also been claims that the guns and bullets used in the attack were bought in Uganda using CDF money, a claim that Kamama has vehemently denied. “I don’t handle the CDF. I am merely a patron,” he said.
As police investigations continued, it was said that police intelligence from Kapedo and some elected leaders had indicated that Kamama funded the attack. But Kamama in a quick rejoinder sai: “Anyone who has evidence should provide it to the police.”
Last week, the claims over Kamama’s funding of militia groups found their way to parliament when MPs from Pokot and Turkana counties exchanged barbs over the military operation in Kapedo.
To fire the first salvo was James Lomenen who said the military must go on with the disarmament of the pastoralist Pokot community for killing 19 police officers in the volatile border between Baringo and Turkana counties.
Pkosing did not however take the allegations lightly and fired back, saying the people who perpetrated the Baragoi attack, in which 42 policemen were killed and their guns stolen should also be forced to return the guns. “There are 40 guns in the hands of civilians and those are being used to massacre Pokots, innocent Kenyans. It is on record that there was no operation after the Baragoi incident,” said Pkosing.
Kamama whose name had featured prominently in the killings asked the military not to burn houses during the operation. “The entire region must be disarmed, but it should have a human face. Merti, Turkana and all other  places must be disarmed comprehensively and simultaneously,” said Kamama.
As the debate as to whether Kamama should be held responsible for the killings continue, a section of MPs are now plotting to axe him from his current position as chairman of the powerful House Committee on National Security.
There are plans to have a vote of no confidence against him after he survived the first attempt early in the year after 22 out of the 29 members of the committee indicated their support for the motion. It was, however, the quick action of DP William Ruto who lobbied to have the motion dropped.
Kamama, according to a legislator privy to the happenings in the House Committee, is facing hostile relations with some of the members who have accused him of utter incompetence and absolute reluctance to deal with crucial security matters affecting the country.
According to sources, the chairman has consistently displayed a non-committal attitude towards ending cattle rustling allegedly carried out by his tribesmen. The vice has seen many people lose their lives and impoverished thousands.
It has been alleged that Kamama has been condoning cattle rustling for alleged political survival in his East Pokot backyard but his Jubilee coalition has on many times come out to support him whenever attempts are made to oust him from the powerful chair.
But who is this man Asman Kamama now being referred to as warlord in some quarters? Kamama entered politics in 2002 when he won the Baringo East constituency on Ford-People ticket. Come 2007 elections, he joined Narc-Kenya and successfully defended the seat before joining URP to contest the newly created Tiaty constituency in Baringo county.
During the last general elections, he garnered 7,768 votes against his closest challenger Symon Pepee of UDF who got 5,011 votes. Others were Musa Ewoi of ODM who got 1,187 votes and William Kamket of Kanu with 4,089 votes.