Tired of unfulfilled promises by the government to build houses for police officers based in their area, residents of Sekution village in West Pokot County took decided to build a house for them.
The locals said they have been unsuccessfully begging the national government to build houses for the officers deployed to the volatile area but got tired and decided to construct a semi-permanent one for them.
The village in Pokot South Sub-County is on the border with Elgeyo-Marakwet and is known for deadly cattle raids.
The residents said they have been having sleepless nights following the escalating insecurity in the area.
One of them donated a piece of land and others offered building materials for the eight-roomed building.
It is made of timber, a mud floor and corrugated iron sheets.
The officers posted to the area have been camping at Kamelei Dispensary but are expected to move to the new house next week.
One of the residents, Mr Solomon Mastangole, said they had been left to their own devices after their pleas were ignored by the government.
They said they decided to build the house in a bid to convince the officers to move closer to them.
“We decided to combine efforts so that we can have peace. Our children are not going to school due to insecurity. We agreed that if we build the police camp we will be the beneficiaries because when officers are here we will have peace,” he said.
Another resident, Mr Abraham Litare, said they are hoping the officers will not decline their gesture.
“We have lost our livestock to the frequent raids. We are always forced to move out to safer places. We plead with the police officers to come and live here. We will also support them and cooperate to identify criminals who are wreaking havoc,” he said.
West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello said he supports the efforts by the community saying the government will always work with them to ensure peace in the area.
He said the community policing initiative allows them to pursue such things.
“The government will deploy police officers to go and live in that area. By building the house, the officers will have a place to live in while doing their patrols and operations. This has worked before and we encourage such efforts from the community because peace starts with them; if we deploy police officers in the area and they do not have a place to live in, we will be doing zero work. I support them,” he said.
West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo said the county government supports the residents’ initiative.
“We shall give out bedding and all the requirements in the new camp. We now want security officers who have been staying at Kamelei Dispensary moved to Sekution area,” he said.
He urged the National Police Service to build more houses for officers posted to the county.
Peace has been elusive in the area.
Only last year, at least ten people were killed, more than 250 houses burnt and 2,000 people displaced by bandits.