The killing of Fredrick Cheretei, the Loyamorok Member of County Assembly and Symon Kitambaa, a parliamentary aspirant for Tiaty constituency in Marigat town, Baringo County has led to an escalation of tension in the area.
Given the bad blood between the communities in the area, there is imminent danger of misguided reprisals. While we cannot speculate on the cause of the attack, no doubt, the choice of targets points to political rivalry.
In unrelated incidents in Nakuru, tension high in Kuresoi following the killing of a man while in Kerio Valley, raiders killed three people. These are not entirely new incidents on the borders of Baringo, Marakwet and Pokot Counties where attacks have become common. Unfortunately, such incidents are always passed off as attacks by cattle-rustlers.
What is not in doubt however, is that the security agencies that should be on top of things in matters of security are as bewildered as the common citizens. In most areas of Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Baringo counties, violence has become the norm rather than the exception yet the government has always been quick to assure residents of beefing up security after every attack.
There is little, or no evidence the police have the situation under control in these areas even after the launch of 535 police vehicles by President Uhuru Kenyatta in January to improve security. As we head into the electioneering period proper, it is possible unscrupulous individuals could take advantage of insecurity in volatile areas to cause mayhem. It behoves the security agencies to not only up their game, but to step up vigilance to stop widespread violence under the guise of the cattle rustling, previously considered a cultural pastime. That includes collecting intelligence and thereby preempting the attacks.
The excuse of cattle-rustling is wearing thin; there could be more to the attacks and political power play cannot be ruled out.