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Matiang'i gives herders seven days to leave private ranches

RIFT VALLEY
By Nderitu Gichure | July 29th 2021
Interior CS Fred Matiang'i [David Njaaga, Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has given hundreds of herders from Isiolo, Samburu and Baringo who have invaded private ranches in Laikipia County seven days to leave or they be forced out.

At the same time, Dr Matiang’i has said security forces will take over the 8,000-acre Kilimoni Farm to act as a buffer zone to keep off the herders, who he described as a source of insecurity.

Speaking when he met with local leaders in Naibor, Laikipia North, Matiang’i said security in the area can not be restored until the pastoralists leave.

“I have today given these herders seven days to move out of this county failure to which we will move in and flush them out. No one is allowed to invade private land," he said.

During the meeting that was attended by Governor Nderitu Mureithi and Laikipia North MP Sarah Lekorere among other leaders, residents narrated how the headers took over their farms, leading to increased conflicts. They said people have been killed and property destroyed.

“We are suffering. These people have invaded our farms and have been killing some of us and stealing our livestock at will. Although they are in search of pasture due to drought in their counties, they are a security nuisance,” said a rancher. 

Matiang’i said that although the State sympathised with the herders, they must respect property rights, adding that the government is the process of buying their animals to ease pressure on pasture.

“We will embark on an off-take programme to buy animals from these herders through the Kenya Meat Commission. This will ease pressure but for now they must leave,” said the CS.

He warned that if the invading herders do not heed his order, security officers will conduct an operation.

Matiang’i said the State-owned Kilimoni Farm will have police stations and army barracks to keep the invaders at bay.

The CS also accused some politicians of fueling inter-community clashes in their effort to capture seats in next year's elections.

“As we approach the elections, I know that some politicians are fanning clashes. I have directed police to arrest them and prosecute such culprits. I have further directed the Regional Commissioner George Natembeya to convene a meeting in two weeks to discuss the matter,” he said.

Mureithi said there were talks with his counterparts in the neighbouring counties to find a lasting solution to cattle rustling.

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