Encourage youths to abandon cattle theft

Thursday November 13 2014

It is imperative that a long-lasting solution to the spate of lawlessness and criminal activities in Baringo County, which have centred on cattle rustling and banditry, be found.

The old culture of livestock theft among the pastoralist communities may be an excuse for the never-ending blood-letting, but underneath this lies modern crime that law enforcers seen to have taken for granted.

The ongoing security operation to disarm and recover illegal firearms is a short-term measure and celebration of its success will likely be for a short time.

If anything, it is turning out to further punishment for innocent women and children, in addition to the resultant harm to their businesses.

The latest security operation was prompted by the recent cold-blooded attack on law enforcement officers and civilians by marauding bandits, who also stole their guns.

This was a wake-up call to the security agencies and peace-loving residents to take the question of insecurity more seriously.



The argument commonly bandied around that the conflict is about resources could not be farther from the truth.

These are deliberate actions that the perpetrators employ in an effort to lend credence to the misleading supposition that the heinous crimes they commit are age-old habits that have refused to die.

The factors that have been blamed for the conflicts in the North Rift have not changed in decades, yet there is no solution in sight.

While I agree that the pastoralist communities have been marginalised by successive regimes and that little effort has been made to change their lives, this should not be an excuse for youths to engage in banditry at the expense of education and other noble socio-economic development pursuits.

The lawlessness is affecting the image and economy of the pastoralists and their neighbours in Samburu, Turkana, and Baringo.

Leaders from the affected counties need to embrace peaceful coexistence and encourage the youths to participate in development programmes so that they are able to secure their future and that of the county.

The church and other opinion leaders have a responsibility to demand that young people in the area be held accountable for their actions. Pastoralists can be encouraged to get involved in modern trade.

With proper infrastructure and a conducive environment, the youths can be motivated to abandon criminal activities.

They can be integrated into programmes to keep them busy and away from cattle rustling and banditry.

Such programmes can get support from the local and national governments as well as non-governmental organisations.

Unless this is done, the effects of insecurity, runaway unemployment, and other socio-economic ills will have serious ramifications for the pastoralist communities and society, in general.

The situation needs to be contained now so as to revive investor confidence in the affected counties and foster development.

Ms Chesiyna is the chairperson, the Foundation of Women’s Rights, Nakuru and Baringo chapters.

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