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Do not criminalise pastoralism, go for real criminals – Lenku

Governor Joseph Lenku
Governor Joseph Lenku
Let us remember all the residents there are suffering in equal measure and they need humanitarian support - Lenku

Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku said on Friday the insecurity situation in Laikipia is messy, disturbing and is calling for cleanup.

Lenku warned those in government to stop classifying some communities as aggressors and others as victims.

“All Kenyans deserve protection from the government and the operation there is needed to flush out criminals,” said Lenku.

He said the banditry in Laikipia is affecting all communities, some of whom have just found themselves in the “disturbed area” while looking for pasture and water.

“The ongoing drought has been declared a national disaster and the government must go for the real bandits and let no one criminalise pastoralism,” said Lenku.

Let us remember all the residents there are suffering in equal measure and they need humanitarian support,” added Lenku.

Meanwhile, the Maa Council of Elders has on Friday said it has received reliable reports of harassment of herders in Laikipia.

“We have received reliable reports of numerous blanket expulsion and harassment cases against ordinary herders some of whom are not even aware of the insecurity in the area,” said acting chairman Keleina ole Nchoe.

Speaking at his Naroosura home in Narok North sub-county, Nchoe said as a council they are concerned about the stigmatisation of certain communities in Laikipia who are referred to as attackers.

“Our council draws its membership from the counties of Narok, Kajiado, Samburu, Laikipia, Baringo and Nakuru and we are mandated to advise our community on all facets of life,” said Nchoe.

Nchoe said what is happening in Laikipia touches on their social, economic and political well being.

“From the onset, let us reiterate that we are an integral part of Kenyans living in the Rift Valley. We have always supported all initiatives by successive governments meant to promote unity, peace and cohesion among all Kenyans,” said Nchoe.

He went on: “We can say without a doubt that peace and security among all our people is a key catalyst to our economic growth, which at the moment we badly need especially as we try to recover from the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The acting chairman said it is the desire of the council to see the country progress fast.

“About ten lives have been lost and hundreds of families have deserted their homes for fear of attacks,” he added.

Nchoe said the region has been experiencing relative peace in the last few years and the sudden eruption of inter-community violence is unfortunate.

“We are concerned that normalcy is yet to resume even as the security agencies intensify their operations which kicked off last week,” added Nchoe.

The council said it supports the efforts to bring back peace in Laikipia county. Let it be known that pastoral lands are currently experiencing drought and many pastoralists are seeking pasture in lands that they do not normally inhabit, the council added.

“In this context, we urge security agencies operating in Laikipia to focus on criminals wielding sophisticated weapons and desist from treating harmless herders as suspects of this senseless wave of insecurity,” said the council.

He said: “We reiterate that we need to separate the case of ordinary herders who have found themselves on the crossfire of this insecurity and criminals from across the county borders whose mission is to cause suffering of ordinary Kenyans.”




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