Chaos erupted in Rumuruti town, Laikipia County today after pastoralists reportedly released their livestock into private farms.
The groups hurled stones at each other and lit bonfires on the roads before the police moved in and restored order in the town in Laikipia West constituency.
The protests came just days after a police operation to flush out illegal herders from Ol Moran and nearby ranches and conservancies was launched. It followed two months of attacks that left eight people dead and many others displaced from their homes.
Rumuruti Township MCA Joseph Suge said Marura village was the most affected as the area is inhabited by both farmers and pastoralist communities.
“The government should intervene to ensure the rights of all communities in this area are preserved. We also don’t want to see our people losing their sources of livelihood. We also don’t want to witness this kind of clashes in this area, they are very destructive,” he said.
Fredrick Njuguna, a member of the Rumuruti business community, said they have incurred heavy losses over the past two weeks due to rising tension in the area.
“For two weeks, the farmers have not been able to harvest their crops. Transport business is also grounded,” said Njuguna.
The clashes are said to have started after farmers detained herds of cattle they had found in their properties.
“The farmers only released the cattle after the police intervened. After a while, the herders attacked some of the residents who had detained their animals leading to the clashes. The attackers are well-known people to us and we are asking the police to take action against them,” said Njuguna.
One of the victims sustained deep cuts was taken to Rumuruti sub-county hospital.
A bodaboda rider narrowly escaped death after the herders blocked his way and tried to attack him using machetes. He fled but his attackers burnt his motorcycle.
Charles Mbatiah, accused the police of not doing enough to calm the situation even after the clashes were reported to them.
He said the police and local administrators refused to intervene as their farms were being invaded.
“We are surprised that the police are using live bullets on protesters and doing nothing to stop the invasion of our farms. We demand equal treatment and protection from the government,” said Mbatiah.
Gathua Gichuru said: “The government must not turn a blind eye on the invasion and clashes being witnessed in Rumuruti. The situation may get worse and that is why we are asking the government to step in.”
“Is the government waiting for people to be killed and displaced as was the case in Wangwaci and Ol Moran for them to act?”
Laikipia West Deputy County Commissioner Hezron Nyaberi who led an operation to quell the chaos assured the residents that the government would ensure the issues raised are adequately addressed.
“The government has the duty to protect the lives and property of its citizens. Whoever has invaded private property must be evicted. We will not allow the insecurity in other parts of Laikipia to spill over here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Laikipia West Sub County Director of Education Josephine Thuranira said many students have reported back to school in Ol Moran and Githiga. Most schools had been closed due to skirmishes that erupted after herders invaded private ranches and conservancies.
Later, the government directed that schools must be reopened starting Monday after the violence that left at least 400 families displaced.
“Today, we have seen a remarkable increase in the number of children reporting back to school. The report we are getting is that nearly 80 per cent of learners are back in class. The remaining few are likely to be from families that fled to far areas,” said Thuranira.
Ms Thuranira assured parents that their children would safe in school. Police officers and National Police Reservists have been deployed to guard the schools.
Laikipia county commissioner Daniel Nyameti said they will continue guarding schools. Teachers and learners will also be accompanied by police to and from school until the situation is fully restored, he said.
Governor Ndiritu Muriithi noted that some of the residents have started moving back to their homes even as the county and national governments continue to coordinate the construction of 29 houses for families whose homes were razed down.
Only 2,000 Guests For Mashujaa Day Fete Due To Covid-19 Threat, Says Kibicho
Only 2,000 guests will be allowed to attend this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20 at the Wang’uru Stadium in Mwea, Kirinyaga County.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the number has been reduced from 15,000 to 2,000 due to Covid-19 threat.
Speaking at General Kassam Stadium in Kianyaga in Gichugu Constituency during a leaders’ meeting, Kibicho said President Uhuru Kenyatta will be the guest of honour during the celebration to be attended by other heads of state and dignitaries.
On September 14, Kirinyaga leaders held their first meeting at Kutus Sifa Garden and agreed to shelve their differences for the success of the fete.
“During our first meeting at Kutus, we brought together former and elected leaders and updated them on development undertaken by the national government,” Roads PS Paul Maringa said.
Kibicho said leaders will continue with meetings before and after Mashujaa Day celebrations for unity purposes.
“We will continue this meeting and inspect State development initiated by the president,” Woman Rep Purity Wangui said.
Kibicho also denied that the government is financing a businessman who is convening the peace meetings, saying that the government cannot give monies to private individuals for such endeavours.
Kenya Set To Attend 76th UN General Assembly
Kenya is set to attend the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in October this year, where it will showcase its progress towards achieving a sustainable development goal in line with the 2030 Agenda.
Kenya’s delegation to the high level session led by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Raychelle Omamo, will focus on the Big 4 Agenda and particularly, on matters that touch on energy, food systems, climate change, global governance and oceans, progress made towards the sustainable development goals and regional peace and security.
On climate change, Amb. Omamo announced that Kenya which is known for its leadership role in addressing climate challenges increased her Nationally Determined Contributions from 30 per cent to 32 per cent and advocating for clean energy with focus on clean cooking and transformative agriculture for sustainable future.
“I am convinced that global support in terms of climate financing is paramount for the country to achieve her targets by the year 2025,” said Omamo.
The CS made the remarks while briefing Diplomatic Corps and the media on various International engagements by Kenya during its Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in the month of October at a Nairobi hotel.
She pointed that Kenya’s membership in the UN Security Council of the African Union Peace and Security Council and Kenya’s Presidency of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States has illustrated the country’s expanding influence on the international stage.
Amb. Omamo disclosed that Kenya will preside over the affairs of the UN Security Council, and will use the opportunity to pursue mutually beneficial outcomes as well as advance good neighbourliness and Pan Africanist ideals on regional peace and security, peace support operations, counter terrorism and violent extremism and climate security.
The CS at the same time announced that the high level dialogue on energy scheduled for September 24 this year organised by the United Nations Secretary General will offer Kenya together with other energy global theme partners from China, the European Union, Japan, Malawi, Netherlands, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia an opportunity to host a thematic event on clean cooking.
She announced that a high level in- person ministerial briefing on the Great Lakes Region scheduled for October 20 this year at the UN Security Council Chambers in New York will seek to address sustainable solutions to the root causes and drivers of conflict.
“Countries of the Great Lake Region continue to be afflicted by many security challenges, however, in recent years, countries in Great Lakes Region have made commendable progress in addressing the root causes and drivers of conflict,” stressed the CS.
She said the progress can be attested by the peaceful transfers of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, the signing and implementation of peace agreements in the Central Africa Republic and South Sudan and the normalising of bilateral relations between Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.
The High-Level Ministerial briefing is also expected to provide an opportunity for the Security Council to renew its commitment to the region, and to support the implementation of the priority projects aimed at promoting a shared vision of regional, peace, security and socio-economic development and strengthening cooperation in addressing the drivers of conflict and instability.
The Ministerial open debate will also share insights on investing in women peacekeepers, peace builders, and their networks to accelerate the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda to ensure sustainable peace outcomes during and post peace operation and mission transition settings.
During her remarks, the CS also thanked development partners for supporting Kenya and the entire region over the years, and in particular, this time of Covid-19 pandemic by donating Covid-19 vaccines, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is also expected to convene the second high level event for Heads of State and Government High Level debate on October 28, 2021 on cooperation between the UN and the Regional and Sub Regional Organisations with specific reference to the African Union.
Kenya’s Presidency in the 76th session which will have several events including those of Heads of States will seek beneficial alliances that reaffirm a rule based multilateral system that addresses global challenges in a manner that attracts consensus.
The country will also use the opportunity to reinforce Kenya’s multilateral credentials in the global arena.