Leaders from 14 pastoralist counties have resolved to form a regional political party ahead of the 2017 elections to chart their own political destiny.
Over 70 leaders including MPs, governors and senators from Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Laikipia, Samburu, Tana River, Lamu, Kajiado and Narok counties attended the Pastoralist Leadership Summit held Saturday at the Samburu Simba Lodge in Isiolo County.
Speaking at the two-day event, the pastoralist representatives said the new party will be used as a negotiation tool, declaring that they would not renege on their push for the new political outfit.
The meeting was touted as the forum to map the region’s political direction.
“The members agreed after a lengthy deliberation that it is necessary to secure an independent platform for advancing the common political interest and aspirations of the pastoralist people in Kenya,” said the resolution read out loud by the summit’s president and Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow.
“The executive committee was mandated to immediately execute this decision without delay,” Mr Kerrow added.
Saturday’s declaration came a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto asked the pastoralists leaders to support them.
President Kenyatta launched the Sh6 billion Equalisation Fund to assist the marginalised areas in providing basic services to bring the counties development to par with the rest of the country.
The President and his deputy asked the leaders to support the government in implementing its development initiatives in their regions.
Asked whether they will field a candidate in the 2017 elections, Mr Kerrow said “we will cross the bridge when we get there.”
“It is the wish and the desire for those of us from these 14 counties to establish a party because our objective is to focus on the interests of pastoralist communities in Parliament. That is the decision we have made and that is what we are committed to.
“The message we want to send to all our communities is that after 50 years of independence we want to have our own political vehicle that we will use to determine our political future,” Mr Kerrow said.
Isiolo Governor Godana Doyo said the new party is the right step in consolidating the pastoral vote.
“We have taken the first step of going towards consolidation of our visions as individual counties and as political leaders of the pastoral counties in Kenya,” Mr Doyo said.
Tana-River Governor Hassan Dado said pastoralist communities occupy more than 85 per cent of the country and therefore cannot be ignored.
The leaders also want the issuance of national Identity Cards fast tracked to enable the youth acquire the document.
They also agreed on a “self-executing” code of conduct binding them to maintain peace and security in their respective counties.
Other governors who attended the summit were Mr Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu), Mr Nathif Jama (Garissa), Mr Ukur Yattani (Marsabit).