Multi-billion-shilling development projects being undertaken by the Government and other agencies along the Kerio Valley are under threat following renewed cattle rustling in the region.
Potential investors are now staying away from the region. As such, development is under threat unless urgent measures are taken to contain the situation.
The Kerio Valley region sits on massive resources, but with elusive peace, no meaningful development is being achieved.
The latest decision by the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) in collaboration with development agencies to embark on the construction of three dams in Elgeyo Marakwet at a cost of Sh63 billion could be in jeopardy because of the increased cases of insecurity in the valley.
Other projects that are likely to be affected include water and road construction. Ongoing efforts to bring peace under the direction of Deputy President William Ruto will only succeed if there is complete honesty among all the leaders involved.
It cannot be denied that some individuals are sponsoring and arming the raiders. Leaders from the affected communities should be honest and speak with one voice during peace forums. It is emerging that those who commit these acts of lawlessness are no longer warriors in the traditional sense but armed killers.
To achieve a lasting solution, there is an urgent need to redirect the negative energies expended by the warriors by securing alternative sources of livelihood such as improving infrastructure to allow small and medium enterprises as well as resorting to irrigation agriculture in these semi-arid zones.
The only permanent solution to livestock rustling remains the initiation of development projects that have a direct impact on the lives of the people such as the construction of dams to provide water for irrigation, improvement of roads, the establishment of schools along border areas, as well as leaders speaking convincingly against the menace.
Such activities can make guns in the hands of civilians irrelevant.
Bethwel Kaino works for the DP Press. Comments expressed here are his own ([email protected]).
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