The Iloodokilani community today blocked the Kajiado-Maili 46 road to protest the alleged government’s action to stop sand harvesting at the Kenya Marble Quarries area.
The county government allegedly closed the mines in the area after miners from Ildamat and Iloodokilani fought over the resources.
In late May, Governor Joseph Ole Lenku formed a team of eminent persons to look into the matter and also resolve a stalemate between the Ildamat and Iloodokilani emanating from a border dispute.
On Tuesday, members of the Iloodokilani moved to the road and barricaded with boulders and leaving a small space for cars and motorbikes.
They stopped all types of trucks moving into Iloodokilani from Kajiado town. They claimed they will do so until their issues are addressed by both the county and national government.
They accused the local provincial administration of delaying to resolve underlying issues that caused the closure of sand harvesting in the KMQ area of Kajiado West subcounty.
Sand harvesting business around KMQ area leaves more than Sh360,000 to the people of Iloodokilani.
John Likama, one of the protestors, said on average some 30 trucks collect sand from the mines each day and each of them leaves at least Sh12,000 per trip.
“Our children have gone hungry. There is no kazi kwa vijana in Iloodokilani, and the only source of income for most families around her is this sand,” said Likama.
Youth Reduced to Beggars
Likama said active youth in the area have been rendered beggars as most of those who are married can afford to feed their families.
“On the other hand, we are appealing to Rift Valley regional coordinator George Natembea to come over and solve this issue. It is about life and death. We do not trust the local administration anymore,” said Likama.
Another protestor, Utete ole Kipat said as members of the Iloodokilani community, they have visited all the government offices in Kajiado with the hope of getting assistance but their grievances fell on deaf ears.
“The governor is aware of this but he has also not taken any action. Our children have no food, and the government cannot feed us. This natural source is in our ward and we are being denied access to it,” complained Kipat.
Clashes on May 17 over the valuable construction resource left one person seriously injured, a homestead fence burnt down and one truck badly damaged.
Skirmishes erupted after a group from the Ildamat ward allegedly forced itself into a sand mining area without consulting the people of Iloodokilani, who are the custodians.
After the clashes, Governor Lenku called for a meeting in his office which was attended by Kajiado West MP George Sunkuyia.
Road transport between Kajiado and Maili 46 towns was cut off following the skirmishes between the rivals fighting over sand mines around the KMQ.
Sunkuyia in whose constituency youths allegedly were beaten by their neighbours from Ildamat over sand had initially told his supporters to boycott the governor’s meeting.
The MP had claimed there are no “lesser” Maasai people in Kajiado to warrant beating as police officers stand on the sidelines and watch without maintaining order.
He said those who were beaten and whose property was destroyed belong to the Iloodokilani community in Kajiado West and own the sites where sand is being harvested.
“We want to know why the police failed to arrests the inciters who commit crimes against innocent people,” Sunkuyia said.
Kajiado Central police commander Daudi Lornyokwe confirmed one man was injured and a sand truck destroyed by the marauding youth from Ildamat near Kajiado town. No arrests were made.
Lornyokwe said the government had suspended sand harvesting in the conflict area until the dispute is resolved.
Public service vehicles, at the time, plying the Kajiado town /KMQ/Maili 46 road were warned by the marauding youth against using the road.
“As a government, we closed all the sand mines in the area until the two groups come up with best practices of operation,” Lornyokwe had told KNU on the phone.
He said deputy county commissioner Charles Wambugu had stopped sand harvesting in the area after one man was injured in clashes.
The police had erected a roadblock at the turnoff to KMQ along the Kajiado/Namanga road to stop sand trucks from using the route and risking attacks.