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Shelve your anger against Museveni, cattle rustling must stop

By Joylene Singoei | April 11th 2013

By Joylene Singoei

Yoweri Museveni’s sentiments on West Pokot cattle rustlers has generated a heated debate.

Museveni made the remarks during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration ceremony in Kasarani, Nairobi on Tuesday. 

Kenyans on socia media platforms castigated his remarks terming it inconsiderate.

And yesterday, three West Pokot MPs David Pkosing (Pokot South), Philip Rotino (Sigor) and Mark Lomunokol (Kacheliba) in a press conference, demanded for his apology.

While I don’t support the branding of the entire community as raiders, we must first acknowledge that the problem is deeply rooted.

Our leaders should prove Museveni wrong by fighting the outdated practice that has bedevilled the region for decades. Their show of anger to the public could easily fuel anger and result into more raids at the Uganda-Kenya border.

Illiteracy and illegal arms

Illiteracy is high in the region and has created a fertile ground for the vice to flourish. Schools are few and far apart and pupils have to trekk very far to access them. Once there, they experience many challenges including inadequate learning resources and very few teachers. All these keep school going children away from school, resultantly-dropout rates are high.

To combat this debilitating trend, our leaders should lobby for more funding from the Government. Education is key in fighting cattle rustling.

The Government’s efforts to disarm the communities have not yielded much fruit. Beefing up security at the border is a short term solution. The problem needs a long term solution and it solely lies on education. We should strengthen our education sector to improve school enrolment.

It is hard to convince an illiterate person to abandon the practice as they deem it as their only source of income at disposal. Most of the youth go raiding to get animals to pay for bride price. If the same youth were enrolled in school, they would be busy with classwork which would later shape their future.

Championing for peace

Peace talks among the warring communities is also vital. Elders and youth from the rival communities should be involved in peace forums. Peace talks played a crucial role in ending bloodshed between Pokot and Marakwet.

Cattle raids have led to a vicious cycle of poverty and it is time the chain is broken. Our elected leaders have just begun their term in office, i humbly besiege them to work together and help us kill this vice. We want it buried and forgotten. Other communities fought and won the battle, we can also fight it successfully.

Joylene Singoei is a journalist who hails from West Pokot.

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