Governor, MPS lead peace drive in insecurity prone areas in Baringo
Leaders say banditry, cattle rustling, have hampered progress in the region
Baringo County Governor Stanley Kiptis and local members of Parliament led a two-day peace drive in the insecurity prone areas of the county, over the weekend, preaching peaceful coexistence.
Mr Kiptis, together with MPS William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Charles Kamuren (Baringo South) William Kamket (Tiaty) and Woman Representative Gladwell Cheruiyot, traversed the troubled Katikit, Yatya, Tangulbei, Chemorong'ion and Eldume, urging the warring communities to coexist peacefully and discard the retrogressive cultural practices of cattle rustling and banditry.
Also in the peace caravan was the county security team, led by Commissioner Henry Wafula.
Governor Kiptis said rampant banditry and cattle rustling have seen the region lag behind in development, adding that if leaders were genuine and united the communities affected by insecurity, normalcy would return.
“The insecurity menace will end if all the leaders unite in preaching peaceful coexistence, and for that reason we have promised, as elected leaders from this region, to work together to ensure that sanity is restored in the troubled areas,” said Mr Kiptis.
“It is disappointing, in this era, seeing people living in tents far from home because they have been displaced due to attacks. We want to ensure that all the displaced are resettled and begin their lives afresh. We have decided to forge peace among all neighbouring communities so that we can compete in development with other regions,” said Mr Kiptis while addressing a peace meeting in Chemorong'ion.
The county boss emphasised the need for churches and the clergy to be involved in taking the Gospel to the volatile areas.
“Ii is good peace is slowly returning to the insecurity prone areas. We've been losing a lot of manpower and development due to insecurity. We also want churches to support us in taking churches to remote areas where banditry is rife because this will help instil good morals and change the people's mindset,” he said.
He said the county government will help build schools in the banditry prone areas so that children can go to school instead of engaging in cattle rustling.
Meanwhile, Mr Cheptumo said the time has come for all leaders to unite and preach peaceful coexistence, irrespective of their political affiliations.
“It is time for leaders from the warring communities to agree on a lasting-solution and avoid loss of lives and destruction of property. The local leaders and residents should take the responsibility of preaching peace and fostering peaceful coexistence among the warring communities,” said Mr Cheptumo.
Ms Cheruiyot noted that women and children are hardest hit by insecurity since they are left behind when men go to the bush to protect the community against attacks when violence erupts.
“Women bear the brunt of cattle-rustling and as a mother, I am not happy seeing young children and women displaced because of the age-old practice of cattle-rustling and banditry. We should end this perennial menace once and for all, but this can be achieved only if we live in peace with neighbouring communities,” said Ms Cheruiyot.
Mr Kamket pleaded with the Tugen and Ilchamus to give him a chance to ensure that the Pokot, who are perceived as the aggressors, lay down their guns and coexist with their neighbours.
“It is true that a few criminals from Pokot engage in banditry and cattle theft. I am pleading with my neighbours to give me a chance and this will be a thing of the past. I will work with the leaders in Tiaty to ensure that those wreaking havoc are brought to book,” said Mr Kamket.
“We don't ever again want to see a scenario where people protect criminals because they are from their community. We will deal with them and call on the security officers to help us arrest the criminals wreaking havoc,” he added.
Baringo North Member of Parliament William Cheptumo addressing a meeting at Chemorong’ion in Baringo South on Saturday. A group of leaders from Baringo undertook a two-day peace drive over the weekend and appealed to the Pokot, Ilchamus and Tugen to give up cattle rustling and banditry and coexist peacefully.