Samboja suspends issuance of lease deals to herders

 Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja. [Standard]

The county government has suspended with immediate effect leasing of land to herders from outside the county.

Agriculture and Livestock Executive Davis Mwangoma, Chief Officer Amos Mwasi and the Director of Livestock Production Martin Oyindo confirmed the county administration had suspended the issuance of the lease agreements to conduct investigations into how the documents were issued to the herders.

Speaking during the annual general meeting for Wushumbu Ranching Company Limited in Wundanyi town, the officials said ranchers had been told to wait for adoption of the draft policy on Ranching and Grazing Management that had been tabled to the assembly.

"Local ranchers have been stopped from issuing new lease agreements to herders from outside until the new policy is enacted. The proposed policy will provide proper guidelines on grazing plans in the ranches to avert overstocking which results in depletion of pastures and water resources,” said Mr Oyindo.

The county said the leases were haphazardly issued to the herders, promoting conflicts and insecurity in the region.

Last Thursday, Alex Mlambo, a farmer, was killed at his farm in Kirumbi on the outskirts of Voi town by suspected herders.

Two herders were on Wednesday attacked and seriously injured as tensions continue to rise following the killing of the farmer.

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More than 60 camels worth over Sh9 million were also killed by residents in retaliation to the killing of Mr Mlambo. The camels were slashed to death, according to police.

Five herders have arraigned at the Voi High Court over the killings. One farmer was also  arrested following an an attack on two herders.

Mwasi disclosed that the county has 28 ranches but their potential have not fully been utilised.

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Taita Taveta Governor Granton SambojaRanching and Grazing Managementsuspected herders