Quick action by Kajiado deputy county commissioner today averted a bloody confrontation between Imbirrikani Maasai morans and the Big Life Foundation management.
Kajiado South deputy county commissioner, Lawrence Kinyua, on receiving information that more than100 armed morans were descending on the Big Life Foundation property on the slopes of Kyulu Hills made a quick security arrangements that saw a contingent of armed personnel to area.
Kinyua, who received the information of an imminent attack in company of Kajiado News Update team on tour of Loitokitok, took a helicopter offered by the Big Life Foundation and rushed to the scene.
The DCC offered our team a lift and arrived at the scene when the morans were a few metres to several camps they intended to burn down.
The area senior chief James Likampa, who received the DCC said he engaged several elders to talk to the morans but they could not listen.
On arrival at the scene, a leader of the morans warned the DCC with his entourage not to move near them or attempt to take any pictures as they consult.
Kinyua instructed the KNU team to fold their cameras and accord the morans their ‘privacy’.
There was tension at some point when one of the morans appeared to fix his eyes on our side.
The only communication to the area is by air and in case of any rift some of us would be caught up between the bullets and spears.
Likampa said the morans planned to attack the Gig Life Foundation establishments in the Kyulu Hills ecosystem after the management of Imbirrikani Group Ranch failed to explain to them how they entered into a grazing policy with the conservancy organisation.
The Big Five Foundation has leased 700 acres from Imbirrikani group ranch; the morans said they took up arms after their leaders failed to explain to them why the region next to the leased land was being ‘curved’ out.
The senior chief, who managed to cool down the morans for talks with the officials of the group ranch in Oltiasika location, accused the officials of not engaging the morans when they require clarification on issues touching on their land.
The Big Life Foundation CEO, Richard Bonham and his manager William Graig, exchanged views with the morans after the officials of the group ranch assured them that no land was being curved out as alleged.
Bonham said he has been involved in conservancy issues since 1986 but has never crossed swords with the local Maasai in Kajiado.
“It is true I have leased 700 acres of land from the group ranch for conservancy issues and I do not intend to lease more because I understand this area is mean for their livestock grazing,” said Bonham.
The chairman of the group ranch, Daniel Mapi, explained to the morans that the management has no plans to interfere with the Oldonyowuas Upper Belt of the 127, 000 hectares land because the region is reserved for grazing during drought.
“This issue has nothing to do with investors but I see a hand of politician in this. We as a community have set our own grazing rules. During the rains, we tell our people to move their livestock to other open land so that we can keep this area for hard times,” said Mapi.
Kunyua thanked the morans for conducting themselves maturely during the talk and promised to work closely with them in future.
He advised the management of the Imbirrikani group ranch to have regular meetings with members over management issues.