NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – The North Rift business community on Thursday said for clashes in Turkana and neighbouring areas to end, Kenya should address underlying issues among the warring communities.
They said ‘cattle rustling’ was being used as scapegoat yet there were weightier issues of boundary disputes and shared scarce resources among the communities.
“We need to change the narrative, there is nothing like cattle rustling anymore. Like in the killings on Sunday, no animal was taken. It was slaughtering of children and women, what is the relationship between women and cattle?” Daudi Kona of Samburu County asked.
“It was the issue of boundaries… it is the issue of shared resources. It is the issue about politics, those politicians who are trying to instigate these issues to justify themselves,” he explained.
The business community wants politicians in the region to dialogue on ending the perennial fighting that has claimed scores of lives and destroyed property.
According to Mary Ekai who is the founder of the Nomad Boy Organisation, local leaders failed to honor the agreement they signed when they held talks with the government in January this year.
She said the leaders did not even bother to inform local communities about the agreement.
“The Boma agreement was never implemented, they never shared with us the information,” she complained.
In the recent attacks that began on Sunday, it is feared that more than 50 people have been killed.
The business community asked the government to permanently deploy adequate security officers in the area apart from deploying them for a short term security operation like announced by Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on Wednesday.
They said it was not the first time that the government had deployed security officers to disarm and arrest perpetrators of the attacks.
They further called on the government to resolve disputes that have engulfed community conservancy land in the North Rift.
They also believed if the government clearly makes known the borders of counties and land, it would help stop the attacks they highly linked to disputes fanned by politicians.
The business community alleged that politicians in the area were also misinforming the locals about devolution and made it appear as if some counties belonged only to certain communities.
On Wednesday, Nkaissery announced that the government had deployed a security operation to disarm the communities and also arrest people believed to be behind the attacks.
He said no person including politicians will be left out if at all they were involved in fuelling the attacks.