NCIC urges herders to keep fewer cows to reduce conflict

Monday August 05 2019

Pastoral communities have been advised to get rid of huge numbers of cattle and instead keep what they can manage. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Pastoral communities have been advised to get rid of huge numbers of cattle and instead keep what they can manage.

Speaking in Tana River County, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Director for Peace Building and Reconciliation Guyo Liban said it is time pastoralists embraced pasture and forage production as a means of sustaining the animals they own.

"It is not wise for one individual to keep 1,000 cows and a huge number of goats which he cannot feed only to use them to cause feuds in other peaceful areas by grazing them on people farms," he said.


Mr Liban said the era when people kept huge numbers of cows for prestige is long gone and that pastoralists ought to consider and explore better ways of self-pride than keeping so many animals.

He further noted that pastoralists, like people in other parts of the country, have the potential to nurture the nation to a peaceful direction by selling a number of cows and investing the money on pasture production and propagation of forage.


"If you are going to keep 5,000 cows like some rich people here in Tana River, you must be able to feed them or be held accountable for any loss they cause," he said.


Mr Liban also noted that most of the livestock that migrate to Boni and other areas of Tana Delta do not belong to locals but to leaders in other counties who hire armed guards to graze them, causing havoc in the areas.

He proposed a system where all pastoralists owning huge numbers of livestock are compelled to have a ranch where they can cultivate their own pasture. This, he said, will reduce pressure and frequent conflicts in Tana River County.

He also noted that in most circumstances, the herdsmen in charge of the livestock are armed and are more eager to fight than to resolve a conflict since majority of them cannot speak Swahili.


At the same time, Elders in Tana Delta urged government to put in control measures and vaccination drives whenever there is such a migration of livestock in order to curb any diseases outbreaks.

NCIC has been camping in Tana Delta for the last two days following rising tensions that threatened peace in the area.

Residents had sounded the alarm over the influx of cattle as a result of the migration, warning of an impending war as the herders were reportedly grazing their animals on people's farms.