Firm police action can end lawlessness in Kitui

Residents of Mutha in Kitui county hold a demo on October 24, 2022, protesting against armed Somali herders who have invaded the area with thousands of camels. [Philip Muasya, Standard]

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) came under fire in Parliament over the conflict in Kitui County between locals and invading cattle herders.

And rightly so because, according to Kitui Senator Enock Wambua, at least 48 people have been killed while women and girls have been raped by the invaders.

Wambua accused the NCIC of doing little to end the conflict. That could be true.

However, we feel that while the commission is not wholly to blame for the atrocities taking place in the county.

Granted, it easy to understand the predicament of the camel herders from Tana River County. Climate change, that is behind the persistent drought ravaging the county, has turned their world upside down and they have no option but to look for pasture and water elsewhere to save the lives of their animals.

But, however desperate their situation is - and there is no doubt it is - they have no reason whatsoever to invade people’s farms with tens of thousands of camels. Many a times, herders graze on farmers’ crops while threatening them with weapons. That must come to a stop. They must be taught to respect other people’s property.
To make matters worse, the invading parties have killed and raped scores of people.

Such acts call for a robust response from the law enforcers. This has little to do with communities. It is about a group of people who have decided to break the law. 

Therefore, even as we urge we urge NCIC to do more, these people must be dealt with in accordance with the law. They must be made to face trespass, rape and murder charges.

In short, this is more of a police than an NCIC case. If the police do not act firmly, the rogue herders will surely strike again, like they have done before, however loud NCIC chairperson, Rev Samuel Samuel Kobia, preaches peace to them. The buck stops with the police.