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State blamed for failing to enact House report on cattle rustling

By - | December 31st 2012

By Isaiah Lucheli

SAMBURU, KENYA: The killing of 42 police officers in Baragoi, Samburu County, sent the country into shock and left many questions unanswered.

Among the main questions is why the Government failed to implement a report by a parliamentary select committee established to investigate the root causes of cattle rustling, which may have averted the death of the officers.

The committee established two years ago came up with ways of stemming the age-old culture among pastoralists, but the report is gathering dust since it has never been implemented.

The team, chaired by Marakwet West legislator Boaz Kaino, sought views from people in North Eastern, Coast and North Rift region and even travelled to Botswana to investigate the vice and came up with damning revelations on the causes and how to curb the worrying culture that is to blame for the proliferation of small arms.

They observed that the cattle rustling phenomenon was a blight on the country’s national dignity and a mark of shame for a country in the 21st century.

They termed the activity a contradiction that negates development initiatives desired and attempted.

The murder of officers has seen leaders calling on the Government to establish a committee to investigate the vice whereas findings by the Kaino committee have not been looked into.

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The establishment of another committee would be a waste of taxpayers’ money and an exercise in futility as the Kaino committee had exhaustively looked into issues that led to the thriving of the retrogressive culture.


In their findings, the 15-member committee established that the complexities surrounding cattle rustling varied slightly from region to region but the underlying driving factors were the same.

Among key factors that have led to the escalation of the vice and the proliferation of arms among pastoralists include livestock being viewed as a symbol of wealth and status in the society.

The committee also noted that the use of livestock as the mode of payment of bride price had contributed to the escalating cases of rustling. Most of the areas inhabited by the pastoralists were vast and had porous borders that had contributed to cross-border raiding incidents and the acquisition of arms especially from warring neighbouring countries like Sudan and Somali.

Rampant poverty levels among pastoralists occasioned by lack of access to lucrative market for cattle had contributed to increased cases of the vice.

The committee observed that youths engaged in rustling as majority of them were unemployed while others were driven into the activity due to clan or tribal animosity and rivalries.

The State has also been blamed for sparse deployment of officers without adequate facilitation in the areas inhabited by pastoralists, which had seen rustling continue unabated.

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