Violence has yet again broken out in Sondu, a town that straddles the border between Kisumu and Kericho counties. In the latest flare-up, seven people are reported to have been killed while several others sustained serious injuries from arrow attacks.
Violence in this area was first reported in July during which six people lost their lives before the police intervened. Weeks later in August, another attack resulted in the deaths of two people while property of unknown value was destroyed in the violence that has often been attributed to cattle theft and a boundary dispute between the Kalenjin community in Sigowet-Soin sub county and the Luo community in Nyakach sub county in Sondu.
It is a shame that while politicians crisscross the country perfunctorily talking about ending tribalism and building national cohesion, some communities are rising up against each other, yet the leaders act as if nothing is happening.
How many lives must be lost, or property destroyed, before leaders give this national disgrace the attention it deserves? A single life lost to such senselessness is one too many. The government must get out of its lethargy and act.
Ethnic flare-ups are not the solution to cattle rustling and border disputes. It is incumbent upon leaders from the two counties to come together and seek from the help of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in finding a lasting solution to the perennial border dispute. The police must acquit itself by acting expeditiously on intelligence received regarding any planned attacks.
In August, Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o urged fellow leaders in Kericho to call their armed youth to order.
There is an urgent need for elected leaders in the region to be on the forefront championing peace instead of being instigators of the violence as claimed by some of the victims. Unscrupulous leaders fanning the violence deserve a date with the police and courts.
The latest violence in Sondu coincides with President William Ruto’s five-day visit to Kisumu County. Hopefully, the president will address this matter during his visit and lay a foundation for lasting peace.