Olpusimoru residents return home as peace is restored

Maasai and Kipsigis communities have embarked on a peace process after the recent conflicts that left four dead, several injured and several others displaced. A 50-member team has been formed to spearhead the peace process. The team comprises chiefs, religious leaders, opinion leaders, community elders and youth leaders representing both sides of the communities residing in Olpusimoru.

narok clashesThe climax of the peace process will be a cleansing ceremony where a bull will be slaughtered as both communities feast together to signify peace. Four people died while 40 were injured after being shot by arrows during the fight that left 200 houses burnt and more than 4,000 people displaced. Speaking to Nation in Olpusimoru, the area Member of County Assembly Mr Wilson Masikonte said the ongoing process has been made possible after both communities gave dialogue a chance. “When the teams selected by members of each community meet, they will agree on a common modality that will bring about lasting peace in the region,” said the MCA.

No new incidents of violence have been reported since Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett visited the area and met the two communities. The CS warned those found to have played a role in the fighting that they would be arrested. He also ordered for the arrest of anyone found armed with bows, arrows and spears and further directed that no one should be out in the night. Locals who have been camping at Township Primary School in Olenguruone Town after fleeing their homes have been assured of security and asked to return home.

On Tuesday, residents of the area were seen driving back their livestock to their homes. Women and children who had also fled were also seen returning to their homes on motorcycles.

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

Mr Stephen ole Nampaso, a representative of the youth said they have put down their weapons to give peace a chance. "We are giving the government a chance to investigate the killers of the two herders who were shot dead in the forest," said Mr Nampaso. However, he said despite calm returning to the area, the government needs to carry out cohesion campaigns between the two communities.

Mr Samson Kitamoni argued that both sides have suffered heavy losses and blamed ‘the devil’ for the skirmishes. "We are tired of the tension that is being brought about by this animosity, we are ready to welcome our neighbours back,” he said. Both sides of the Nakuru and Narok counties are working together to ensure those who were displaced are resettled.By Wednesday, Narok County government donated 4,000 iron sheets to displaced victims whose houses were burnt down during the clashes. Each person will receive 20 iron sheets.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

Government starts registration of guns held by civilians in West Pokot

guns picThe government has embarked on voluntary registration of illegally acquired firearms in West Pokot County. Eight serviceable guns and nine rounds of ammunition have so far been registered and handed back to the owners with clearance certificates. Speaking during the launch of the registration Saturday in Turkwel, county commissioner Seif Matata said the government will no longer allow civilians who are not registered to continue holding firearms.

Mr Matata said the programme will regulate and monitor all registered firearms held by civilians, saying it is another way of ensuring that they do not engaged in crime activities and in return cases of insecurity in the region will be eradicated or reduced.

CLOSELY MONITORED

“This exercise will ensure that those who own them will not engage in illegal activities as the government will closely monitor and know who misuses his firearm instead of accusing the entire community,” said the commissioner. The commissioner promised that during the recruitment of Kenya Police Reservists to be done soon, those who will have registered will be given the first priority and they will earn some allowance.

He added that in the National Youth Service programme to be rolled out next week in the area, the volunteers will first be considered.  He appealed to those who are yet to register to do so immediately, saying what is required is only the firearm and the national identity card. He urged them to go to their nearest chief or assistant chief’s offices to register.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

Government suspends stone quarrying in Mandera East over insecurity

Quarrying in Mandera East Sub-County has been suspended due to insecurity. Mandera East Deputy County Commissioner Elvis Korir said the ban follows the assessment of the security in the area. “We have decided to suspend quarrying activities especially in Mandera East on security reasons but once we reorganise our apparatus the stone miners will resume work,” Mr Korir told the Nation. mandera stone mining

He said all the Kenya Police Reservists (KPRs) in Mandera East were being vetted for effective surveillance of the stone quarries. “We are vetting afresh all the reservists so that we can deploy them in the three locations with the highest stone mining activities within Mandera East and this will boost our tactics of fighting terror,” said Mr. Korir. The three locations with the highest quarry activities are Khalalio, Neboi and Koromey. Mr Korir said there are more than 15 stone quarries in Mandera East alone.

AL-SHABAAB ATTACK

The government’s decision comes at a time when the stone miners have become Al-Shabaab targets with the latest attack on July 7, 2015 claiming 14 lives. Eleven other people were injured in the attack. On December 2, 2014, 36 miners were killed in cold blood by suspected Al-Shabaab militants as they slept in makeshift tents at Koromey.

The incident prompted the government to close down all the stone quarries along the Kenya-Somalia border. The miners were ordered never to spend nights in the quarries but instead rent houses in Mandera Town. Mr Charles Kamau, a stone miner, told the Nation that most of his colleagues have left Mandera due to “complicated working conditions” which he blamed on the government.

TOUGH CONDITIONS

“We have worked in these quarries for long but the government has become very unfriendly with officers coming up with tough conditions. “On the other hand Al-Shabaab are after our lives and this has forced most of us to go back home,” said Mr Kamau. He said most miners were attracted by the “good returns” in Mandera compared to his home county of Nyeri.

The construction industry in Mandera is expected to suffer most as the quarries close. Mr Korir, however, said the activities will resume after streamlining of the security system and denied claims that it was a government tactic of getting non-locals out of Mandera after a successful transfer of non-local teachers.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

Lobby groups oppose plans by Isiolo County government to lease out game reserves

Two lobby groups have opposed plans by the Isiolo County government to lease out three game reserves to the African Park Management Organisation. Waso Trust Land Project and Merti Integrated Development Programme have that said as major stake holders, they have not given their consent for the agreement to be implemented.

The two lobbies claim that the county is in the process of leasing out the Sarova Shaba, Bisanadi and Buffalo Springs game reserves. The parks were previously managed by the defunct Isiolo County Council but were later transferred to the county government following devolution. According to Waso Trust Land Project CEO Liban Golicha, APM will streamline management, marketing and fence the three game reserves but the county government will not get any revenue for the first 10 years. buffalo springs

He said his organisation is privy to information that initially, APM had expressed interest in leasing only one game reserve (Sarova Shaba) but the county government is alleged to have offered all the three parks. “Two months just after the general elections, the county government and APK began this plan. “They met last week to discuss on the way forward and we are worried because we were not involved in the matter," said Mr Golicha. Merti Integrated Development Programme official Salad Tutana said that there must be citizen participation on important issues performed by the county government.

DEVELOPED BUSINESS PLAN

Mr Tutana who spoke to the Nation by phone said: “Both parties involved in the leasing have already assessed the areas and have developed a business plan. "The county government was supposed to involve all the stake holders since this concerns community land," Sarova Shaba Game Reserve occupies an area of 254sq Km along Ewaso Nyiro River.

The Bisanadi Game Reserve is located along the Bisanadi River bordering Meru National Park and occupies the largest area of 607sq Km while Buffallo Springs borders Samburu County and is 131sq Km in size. The amount of revenue collected from the reserves by the county government is not clear but during the county council tenure, it collected up to Sh300 million annually.

County executive in-charge of Tourism Suleiman Shunu confirmed there were such plans. He said the county is holding several meetings to address the issue. Mr Shunu, however, said that the concerns raised will be discussed by the county assembly and also be subjected to public debate. “Whatever the outcome, it should be beneficial both to the county (government) and residents,” he said.

Courtersy of Daily Nation

ABOUT PDNK

Pastoralist Development Network - of Kenya

We are an advocacy NGO established under a Trust deed number 791 DI 4453128 in 2003. The network is a conglomeration of 60 pastoralists’ individuals, NGOs and CBOs and non-pastoralist institutions and individuals supporting pastoralists’ development process in Kenya. It draws its membership from North Rift, South Rift, North Eastern and Upper Eastern regions of Kenya representing 14 pastoralist Counties. Its mission is to lobby for the inclusion of the pastoralist agenda in mainstream development with the vision of a prosperous pastoralist society.

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