By ALI ABDI
Pastoralist communities have been urged to end cattle rustling, banditry and clan-based conflict.
Pastoralist Parliamentary Group Secretary Ekwe Ethuro Thursday asked warring groups to stop the vices, saying they had contributed to underdevelopment.
“We want the retrogressive practices to end. Pastoralists should stop fighting in Turkana, Pokot, Samburu, Tana River, Mandera, Isiolo and other places,” said the Turkana Central MP.
He was speaking in Isiolo Town during the last day of the Kenya Pastoralist Week gala that brought together community representatives from all parts of the country.
Ethuro called for unity among various communities, adding that as Members of Parliament they had worked together to push the Government to introduce many changes that brought about development projects.
“The 45 MPs from pastoralist areas are united and working together to promote the welfare of their communities. The construction of the Isiolo-Moyale road is among the projects that came as a result of our lobbying,” he said.
“In the next Parliament, our numbers will be higher because many of the current constituencies have been split. We will be a power to reckon with,” he added.
The communities said MPs should prepare them for more development, citing the Government’s Vision 2030 projects and the coming devolved government.
“Our counties will get funds, including others like the Equalisation Fund that will spur development. Marginalisation and neglect will be things of the past,” Ethuro noted.
However, the spirit of thousands of pastoralists who converged at Isiolo Stadium to celebrate this year’s festival was dampened by the absence of key leaders.
In Wednesday’s programme, leaders from pastoralist areas scheduled to give key speeches included Cabinet Ministers Mohammed Kuti, who is also area MP, and Mohammed Elmi, but they failed to show up. On the same day, Prime Minister Raila Odinga was scheduled to officially launch the forum and flag off a peace caravan between 11am and 1pm.
Centre for Minority Rights Development (Cemiride) Executive Director Yobo Rutin, however, said the Minister for Development for Northern Kenya, Mohammed Elmi, would preside over the gala night.