End lawlessness along Kericho-Kisumu border

A man clutches at a spear as he mourns the death of one of their own at Thessalia settlement in Muhoroni, Kisumu County following ethnic clashes on Kisumu-Kericho boarder. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

A flare-up of ethnic tension along the Kisumu-Kericho border resulted in the deaths of two people last Saturday. A house in Nyakach, Kisumu, was burned and property destroyed after youths from Kericho County, wielding poisoned arrows and machetes, attacked the village. 

Many people have fled their homes in search of safety and are camping at Ndori Primary School. In July this year, a similar incident was reported in Sondu, Kisumu County, in which six lives were lost before the police intervened and created a buffer zone between the warring youths.

Even though it is alleged that the trigger of the latest ethnic violence along the Kericho-Kisumu border is cattle rustling, there could be more than meets the eye, and the police would do well to get to the bottom of it. 

Kenya belongs to all of us, and the need for peaceful coexistence cannot be overemphasised. Granted, criminal elements live among societies, but they should not be the reason a brother kills his brother because there are legal mechanisms for dealing with such people. Cattle rustling should not have led to inter-communal conflict for, as it were, thieves steal alone, not as communities.

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o's call on politicians in Kericho to call their youths to order and avoid unnecessary violence is welcome. Importantly, politicians should desist from using such incidents to settle real or imagined political scores. Peace is paramount to our developmental agenda and we all must protect it. 

The government should act tough and stop people from taking the law into their hands every time there is a misunderstanding. It is also important that security agencies act on intelligence reports in a timely manner to forestall such incidents. 

Tension in the area has been building up for some time and police must have been aware but, unfortunately, took their time to act. The masterminds of these heinous crimes should be brought to book. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission should move into the area and act to lower tension.