NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – Deputy President William Ruto on Thursday led leaders from cattle rustling prone areas to a meeting meant to find a lasting solution to the menace that continues to claim innocent lives.
During the meeting that came a week after more than 60 people were murdered in Turkana, the leaders agreed to put aside the differences and agreed to push for an all inclusive plan to kill vice.
The Deputy President challenged the leaders to take up their role while assuring that the government will increase the number of Kenya Police Reservists as part of the wider plan to restore order.
“It is our responsibility as citizens especially as leaders not to focus so much on the enormity of the challenges that we face but to the possibility of the solutions that we can create working together,” he appealed.
“If we stand as Kenyans we can overcome the challenges that face us as society.”
Other than political leaders from the regions, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, Principal Secretary Monica Juma, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Osman Warfa and County Commanders also attended the meeting.
Ruto warned that continued insecurity in the area will greatly hamper the economic growth of the troubled regions.
The meeting was held at the DP’s Karen office a day after professionals from Baringo County held protests over insecurity in the region.
The Deputy President told the leaders to take the initiative and tell the people that there were enough resources in the region that could take care of their needs if fully exploited instead of engaging in cattle rustling.
He regretted that insecurity in the area had retarded development efforts including closure of 41 schools and asked the leaders to demonstrate their seriousness in the war against the vice.
“I have said and will continue to say that those who believe in stealing other people’s cattle and property must look for another business to do or another country to live in.
“I am happy that we are now coming together for the first time and with a common agenda that we must stop these cattle rustling activities. We should lead by example in preaching peace and harmonious relations among our people,” he warned.
In resolutions read by Turkana West MP Daniel Nanok, the leaders agreed to cease hostilities, convene peace meetings beginning next Monday, explore ways of solving boundary issue and cattle rustling which they said was at the heart of the disputes.
The leaders also called for immediate reopening of all schools closed because of cattle rustling activities.
Others were involvement of religious leaders in search for peace, recruitment and deployment of KPR, establishment of special police unit to be named-anti cattle rusting squad, establishment of police posts, irrigation schemes, schools, health centers in areas prone to the menace and establishment of ministry to deal with issues of pastoralists.
Those in attendance came from Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu and Baringo Counties.
Governors Simon Kachapin (West Pokot), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Josephat Nanok and Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) said leaders should work together in fighting insecurity.
Nanok said leaders should be honest with each other if security challenges caused by banditry and cattle rustling were to be won.
Senators John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), John Munyes (Turkana) and Gideon Moi (Baringo) said teamwork and unity among leaders were crucial in the war against insecurity.
“We want to assure the Government that as leaders we have resolved to work together and take a common stand in addressing insecurity problems in the region,” said Lonyangapuo.
Moi urged the Government to increase the number of KPR along the border saying they were well placed to deal with cattle rustlers compared to security officers who may not understand the local terrain.
Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Security Asman Kamama said leaders should stop the culture of blame game and work together in solving the problems.
The MPs vowed to desist from inflammatory statements aimed at inciting communities against each other in the region.