Baringo South MP Charles Kamuren has urged the national government to consider paying village elders a salary for conflict resolution and peace maintenance services at the grassroots.
Speaking when he handed over a new assistant chief’s office in Sokon sub location, Mr Kamuren noted that village elders assist the government in arbitrating family disputes, land boundary disputes and help apprehend petty offenders.
Construction of the administrative office was funded through National Government constituency development fund (NG-CDF) money.
Kamuren said the government needs to pay the elders a token to motivate them to discharge their duties.
“I urge the national government to include the village elders in its payroll to motivate them however small the pay may be. It does not matter if it is Sh1000, 2000 or 10,000 for the time being. It will increase with time. I have tabled a bill in parliament on village elders and it has moved some stages. I believe by next year things will be good for the elders,” said Kamuren.
He also said there is need to train the elders who are the first link between the government and citizens at the grassroots, on basic administrative skills to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness in their work.
The MP also asked the government to issue the elders with uniforms for easy identification and recognition by members of public while executing their mandate in the villages especially when going after offenders.
Mr Kamuren who underscored the importance of national administration officials in supervision and implementation of government projects and programmes said he was committed to allocating more funds towards construction of modern offices for chiefs and their assistants across the constituency.
He challenged the administrators to use the enabling environment to expound critical government policies and programmes to Wananchi and provide quality service to members of the community in the area.
Meanwhile, Kamuren urged local residents living in arid and semi-arid zones to grow drought resistant traditional crops like millet, sorghum, finger millet and green grams to attain food security at the household level.
A former director of administration in the Ministry of Sports Haron Komen called on area farmers to stop overdependence on subsistence farming and shift to cash crop farming which he noted has good returns.
Mr Komen encouraged farmers in the upper parts of the constituency enjoying good rains to venture into coffee farming saying coffee at the moment enjoys competitive prices in the global market.
He noted that farmers who have invested heavily in cash crops particularly coffee whose payments have improved greatly in the recent past were economically stable.
In July Baringo county government in collaboration with a South Korean investor put up a Sh100 million coffee milling factory at Katimok coffee in Baringo North sub county.
The milling machine financed by a South Korean investor, Rev Cha Bo Yong, the first in the region, will be milling an average of 10 tons of coffee per day and 200 tonnes a month.
The plant is expected to be operational by October and will greatly transform the economic livelihoods of local farmers who have never had a milling machine since the introduction of coffee farming in the county.
By Joshua Kibet