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Kick illegal herders out of Lakipia, MCAs urge

Paul Ndung’u @PeopleDailyKe

The row between herders and farmers in Laikipia appears far from over after County Assembly members asked the government to continue with the operation to flush out illegal grazers. This is despite an uproar from their colleagues in Samburu who have accused police of killing their animals.

The MCAs faulted Samburu county leaders for “playing victim by complaining over killed animals” saying the herders have been driving their animals into private land destroying farmers’ crops.

Led by Sossian ward MCA Jacob Edom they said many lives and property have been lost in Laikipia after the armed herders invaded the county with their animals and accused Samburu leaders of staying mum when this happens.

He termed it hypocritical for their colleagues to agitate for compensation of the killed livestock “instead of mourning with the families of officers and residents who were killed by the armed herders”, who they accuse of causing chaos in Laikipia.

“Women and girls have been raped by the herders at Wagwachi and we didn’t hear a word from the leaders whose people were largely involved,” said Irene Wacuka, a Nominated MCA. The MCAs’ call was supported by herders from Laikipia North under the Laikipia Maasai who addressed the Media at a Nanyuki hotel urging the government to continue flushing out the illegal herders.

The Maasai leaders cautioned colleagues from other parts of the country “to first get the true information about the problems ailing Laikipia” before addressing the public. They said there is leadership in Laikipia County and no one from outside the county should dictate how the county should be run.

“We urge the Samburu governor to desist from giving ultimatums on issues concerning Laikipia and he should instead call back herders from his county who are illegally grazing their animals in private farms and causing chaos and bloodshed,” read part of their statement. The leaders claimed that 23 lives have been lost, with over 7,000 cattle either stolen or killed by the invaders in the last two years.

Led by Joseph Rana, they demanded that the government compensate for the lives lost, injuries, livestock stolen and property destroyed by the invaders. They also called on the county commissioners from Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo to take responsibility in curbing cross-border banditry. Rana called on the government to publish the names of cattle barons who he said are originally from Samburu but perpetrate injustices in Laikipia county.

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