MPs snub peace rally for herders

Monday May 10 2010

By HASSAN HUKA

Six Northern Kenya MPs on Monday boycotted a peace rally to broker peace among pastoralists in the region.

Dr Mohamed Kuti (Isiolo North), who is also Livestock Development minister, led five other MPs in boycotting the rally where six warring tribes from Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu, Laisamis and Marsabit had been invited.

Sources said the MPs were unhappy that they were not involved in the peace building process and were only informed a day before the rally.

Isiolo South MP Abdibahari Ali said he had been told that the rally would be held next Sunday and was not aware of a decision to change the day.

However, three MPs attended the rally and called on pastoralists to surrender their guns as compulsory disarmament was now in force.

They urged the police not to try and extract information from the herders by force.

The three MPs were Industrialisation assistant minister Nderitu Mureithi (Laikipia West), Raphael Letimalo (Samburu East) and Ms Maison Leshomo (nominated).

Morans from Samburu East and Laisamis demanded to negotiate a permanent truce with Somali and Boran fighters at a separate meeting where “we would meet face to face with the men we fight and not elders residing in towns.”

Mr Mureithi urged the herders to embrace peace for their areas to develop.

He said the Isiolo-Moyale road will spur development but investors would not come if they continued fighting.

“A cow hide is worth Sh30,000 if you count the pairs of shoes it makes. But you sell your hides at Sh200 each because no one wants to invest in your areas,” he said.

The region has the highest rate of cattle rustling and banditry in the country.