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Makueni Police Dispels ‘Eviction’ Rumours Of Maasai Herders

Emaciated cows near Bull’s Eye market in Kajiado central sub county graze along the Namanga road on December 27, 2017. PHOTO/KNU

Mukaa OCPD, Charles Muthui, told KNU on the phone he was in Malili in the morning of Saturday and had seen Maasai livestock grazing without disturbances.

“Please just treat such claims as rumours. I am Malili right now and have not seen any such act at all. In fact I am seeing Kajiado Maasai herders going about their business of grazing livestock,” said Muthui.

On Tuesday, one person was allegedly injured when a local MCA led a group of youth to forcefully evict some herders from ILRI farm after they were accused of “polluting” the environment with dead carcasses of their livestock.

They had also been accused of invading private farms and letting their livestock destroy crops.

Muthui said he has no knowledge of youth who have been charged with eviction of Maasai herders and challenged those making such claims to produce evidence.

Residents of Kajiado had claimed through social media that the eviction going on in Malili is threatening the peaceful co-existence between the people of Makueni and Kajiado counties.

Herders from Kajiado have been depending on their neighbours, over the years, during drought period to get pasture.

Owing to prolonged drought that has hit Kajiado, most herders have moved out of the county in search of grass.

Meanwhile, Several manyattas have been deserted in Bissil and Torosei areas of Matapato North as drought situation in most parts of the county turns extreme.

The same sad story is shared in Iloodokilani, Purko, Matapato South, Ildamat, Keek-Onyokie, Mosiro, Magadi wards and parts of Kenyewa Poka as migration of herders have now moved to Ukambani in search of grazing fields.

Ildamat Location Senior Chief Jonathan Nangari says drought situation in Central and West Sub Counties is at its worst and is unprecedented in many years.

“We have no pasture, our animals are dying every day, our people have started migrating to the east in search of grass and I am not seeing children going to school next year,” said Nangari.

Nangari said those livestock that have been moved to Ukambani are in terrible situation and cannot be sold.

“Death is staring at us as we now speak. People are staring and the death of the last cow signifies that even humans will follow suit if no intervention is undertaken now,” said Nangari.

Another resident and teacher, Gideon ole Kobaai, sold his 10 cows to Kenya Meat Commission that was in a joint venture with the county government, in November and at the end of December, he said he had not been paid.

Governor Joseph Lenku had praised the venture saying it will help the farmers to offset drought-stricken livestock but the entire exercise has now turned out to be a sham.

“Every time we ask for our money, we are referred to our chiefs who in turn tell us that KMC has not communicated with them,” said Kobaai in Kajiado town.

He claimed the people of Kajiado voted for Jubilee because they believed the party make changes for the better and turn around their lives but what he is seeing is direct opposite of their expectation.

The Kajiado county drought monitoring and early warning bulletin for the month of August, 2017 said the period of the year is normally dry.

Vegetation condition in the county was deteriorating with Kajiado central and east having severe vegetation deficit, the bulletin said.

It further said that during the period of assessment the water was inadequate and strategic water points were under pressure from livestock, human being and wildlife.

The bulletin said households in pastoral zone face food insecurity due to low livestock productivity as a result of depleted forage.

“In mixed farming zone, household have no food stock due to crop failure during the last two consecutive seasons,” said the county report.

During the period of assessment utilization indicators showed that majority (63 per cent) of households were either consuming poor diet or were at borderline.

Milk consumption was limited by insignificant production and consumption of acceptable diet especially in pastoral zone was due to poor terms of trade, the report said.

The county report said the risk of malnutrition for under-fives remained increasingly far above the long term average.

The people say the hay the county government gave out to individual livestock farmers was insignificant as compared to demand after it failed to rain from April to December, 2017.

While the office of the deputy governor, Martin Moshisho, ensured that livestock herders in the month of October get water, the impact remained insignificant too.

There was more demand than the hay provided by the county government.

The drought situation currently is dire the Kajiado Maasai say they are scaring death on the face as they cross to the new year.

Chief Nangari predicts that if does not rain before the end of January, the government will start counting dying people from the fangs of hunger.

Our effort to reach out to the county minister for trade Moses ole Narok to comment on the matter proved untenable when he avoided our calls later after promising to address the issue.

While governor Joseph Lenku has also tried to play his part in ensuring his people get relief food during the difficult time, it appears he is not getting enough support from the national government.

 

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