Samburu, Laikipia leaders resolve long-standing pasture conflict

Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku (left), his Narok counterpart Patrick Ole Ntutu (Center) and Samburu's Lati Lelelit (right) speak after holding a consultative meeting in Nanyuki, Laikipia County on September 27, 2023. [Michael Saitoti, Standard]

Elected leaders and elders from Samburu and Laikipia counties have resolved to end the long-standing dispute over pasture and water.

The conflict that has lasted over the years has led to deaths, loss of livestock, and displacement of people in all the two counties including in the neighbouring areas.

The conflict has also led to the closure of public learning facilities in Laikipia and Samburu counties.

The communities residing in the affected areas have also not been able to access basic amenities such as hospitals and markets for fear of attacks while passing through their ‘enemy’s land.’

In an effort to end the standoff and restore normalcy, a high-powered delegation led by three governors and a host of members of parliament congregated at Beisa Hotel and Conference Centre in Nanyuki, Laikipia County for a consultative meeting.

The meeting was attended by Governor Lati Lelelit (Samburu), Joshua Irungu (Laikipia), Kajiado’s Joseph ole Lenku, Narok’s Patrick Ntutu, and ten lawmakers.

According to Governor Lati, the leaders resolved to end conflict over the grazing land during drought by using elders to bring reconciliation.

“It has been agreed, beginning today, no more bloodshed and livestock theft in Laikipia and Samburu counties,” said Lati who read the resolutions of the meeting.

The leaders also resolved to initiate a healing process among community members, and for all to respect land titles and embrace elderly grazing approaches.

“All public roads to be open in Laikipia among a raft of other resolutions. Other meetings were scheduled for October 11th, 12th and 13th at venues to be communicated later,” read the meeting resolutions in part.

Governor Lenku said the leaders were optimistic that their people would find a lasting solution to problems as Maa leaders resolved to take bold steps of preaching unity. 

“We are further calling for an immediate halt to the fighting, the recognition of land title deeds and embrace of elderly grazing approaches, an end to cattle rustling, and the reopening of schools, roads, and all social amenities that had been closed down.” He said.

Lati said they have agreed as leaders from Samburu and Laikipia to preach peace and urge their respective communities to observe peace.

East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) member Ole Sankok said as leaders from the Maa community they support the peace initiative by leaders from the two counties.

“We are for peace in resolving communal grazing conflicts. If one community steals cows from the other, we must pay or compensate with seven more cows as per the Maa culture known as Enyamo.” Said Sankok.

Samburu East MP Jackson Lekumontare urged his colleagues to support the peace initiative and agree to rally their respective constituents to support peaceful coexistence.

Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere said communities in the two counties must agree to respect private land ownership and stop senseless killings.

“As leaders, we have agreed that the societies are greater than one person- be it a politician, or businessman. We should agree to use our elders in resolving conflict, and where we need pasture, we must learn how to borrow or ask for permission before driving livestock into private land.” She said.

Her Laisamis counterpart Joseph Lekukuton maintained that leaders should be neutral in resolving conflict and agree to the use of elders in resolving disputes.

“We can make use of our elders in resolving disputes. We must make our people understand the importance of peaceful coexistence,” he said.

Irungu, the Laikipia governor, regretted that the conflict over pasture has impacted negatively on development projects in the counties.

“We have lagged behind in development because of the conflict over grazing land and pasture. We need to end the senseless killings and theft of livestock,” he said.

Present at the deliberations were Samburu Lati, his counterparts Lenku (Kajiado), Irungu (Laikipia),  Laikipia deputy governor  Reuben Kamore, MPs Sarah Korere (Laikipia North), Jackson Lekumontare (Samburu East), David Sankok (EALA), Rebecca Tonkei (Narok Women Rep), Ken Aramat (Narok East), Patrick Kitilai Ole Ntutu (Narok South), Agnes Pareyio (Narok North), George Sunkuyia (Kajiado West), Joseph Lekuton (Laisamis), Laikipia Speaker Ole Nabaala, Former Speaker Francis Ole Kaparo, opinion leaders, Elders and representatives from Isiolo among others.

By AFP 9 hrs ago
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