Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis and local members of Parliament led a two-day peace drive in the insecurity prone areas of the county over the weekend.
Mr Kiptis, together with MPs William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Charles Kamuren (Baringo South), William Kamket (Tiaty) and Woman Representative Gladwell Cheruiyot, traversed the troubled Katikit, Yatya, Tangulbei, Chemorong’ion and Eldume, urging the warring communities to coexist peacefully and discard the retrogressive cultural practices of cattle rustling and banditry.
Also in the peace caravan was the county security team led by Commissioner Henry Wafula.
Governor Kiptis said rampant banditry and cattle rustling have seen the region lag behind in development, adding that if leaders were genuine and united normalcy would return.
“The insecurity menace will end if all the leaders unite in preaching peaceful coexistence; and for that reason we have promised, as elected leaders from this region, to work together to ensure that sanity is restored in the troubled areas,” Mr Kiptis said in Chemorong’ion.
He said his administration will build schools in the hotspots to dissuade children from engaging in cattle rustling, and help the victims rebuild their lives.
The county boss emphasised the need for church leaders to be involved in taking the Gospel to the volatile areas.
Ms Cheruiyot noted that women and children are hardest hit by insecurity since they are left behind as the men fight off assailants.
“I am not happy seeing young children and women displaced because of the age-old practice of cattle rustling and banditry. We should end this perennial menace once and for all. It can be achieved only if we live in peace with neighbouring communities,” Ms Cheruiyot said.
Mr Kamket pleaded with the Tugen and Ilchamus to give him a chance to ensure that the Pokot, who are perceived as the aggressors, lay down their guns and coexist with their neighbours.
“It is true that a few criminals from Pokot engage in banditry and cattle theft. I am pleading with my neighbours to give me a chance and this will be a thing of the past. I will work with the leaders in Tiaty to ensure that those wreaking havoc are brought to book,” said Mr Kamket.
He said disagreements over boundaries should not be a cause for violence, urging the communities to leave the matter to relevant authorities.
County Commissioner Henry Wafula said the region was losing a lot of manpower and development due to insecurity.
“Our region sits on enormous resources but this will not be of much help if our people continue engaging in bloody conflicts, which scare away potential investors,” he said.
He said it is time for leaders from all the communities to agree on a lasting solution and warned them against careless talk that can ignite animosity.
The Pokot, Ilchamus and Tugen have been engaged in unending armed raids that have impacted negatively on their socio-economic lives.
The perennial conflicts have seen hundreds killed and displaced over the years.