The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has been put on the spot for locking out Samburu youth from an open peace and cohesion forum.
The commission led by Mr Francis ole Kaparo had for two days organised a cohesion and peace forum involving youth and women from the county.
The event, which was held on Monday and Tuesday at the Maralal Catholic Church Pastoral Centre, was marred with chaos and confusion as dozens of youth who had been invited by Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda were turned away.
According to an official from the commission who was one of the organisers of the event, the group of youth who turned up on Tuesday had no official invitation letters.
They comprised members of the Samburu University and College Students Association (Sucsa) among other participants who were locked out of the venue's main gate which was under tight security by Administration Police officers.
A spot check by Nation revealed that the youth who had been invited through announcements on local radio stations and invites from political leaders for the Tuesday open forum were denied access to the hall.
Despite the commission planning for the women cohesion forum on Monday and the youth session for the whole of Tuesday to help chat a way forward for peaceful coexistence between the county's warring communities, majority of those given access into the venue were the elderly, Nyumba Kumi leaders, provincial administration officers and security officials.
"Peace initiatives should be pushed forward through these young people if the commission is really after cohesion,” said Ms Lucina Becky, the Sucsa vice-chairperson.
Another resident, Ms Cindy Maiyanai, slammed the organisers to the event for side-lining the youth and ignoring their voice.
"We play a major role in this society as youth. As we speak, we have not been given entry into the venue where peace and cohesion discussions are taking place,” she said.