Baringo County Commissioner (CC) Abdirisack Jaldesa has urged elected leaders, clergy and professionals to unite in order to end insecurity that has earned the county a bad name and for years frustrated development and peaceful co-existence.
Jaldesa made the remarks at Kabarnet ASK Show grounds during inauguration and swearing in ceremony of Governor Benjamin Cheboi and his deputy Charles Kipngok where he said that the challenge has taken back the county which is endowed with vast natural resources like unique lakes, minerals, beautiful sceneries and huge agricultural potential.
He stated that several people in the county have lost their lives, livestock, properties and chunks of families displaced from their ancestral homes by marauding bandits and cattle rustlers who forcefully turn the lands into grazing fields.
“Up to now, we still have schools which have not resumed fully in Baringo North and South because of the insecurity situation but I believe that normalcy shall be restored soon if our leaders speak in one voice,” he said.
The commissioner stated that his office in collaboration with county government shall organise a series of meetings in the affected areas with the newly elected leaders so that they chart a way forward of ensuring lasting peace within the county.
He added that the security situation for the past six months has greatly subsided especially along the Kerio Valley belt and areas of Saimo Soi, Mochongoi and Mukutani thanks to swift government interventions like deployment of multi-agency teams which have stepped up regular patrols and surveillance.
He said that the next course of action is to see that all those affected by the insecurity have been resettled and their children continue studying like they used to in the past.
Baringo South MP Charles Kamuren whose constituency is the most hit hard by the insecurity menace said close to 400 people have lost their lives due to banditry vices, a situation, he noted is unfortunate.
Kamuren accompanied by newly elected leaders William Cheptumo (Senator), Florence Jematiah (Women Representative) Joseph Makilap (Baringo North), William Kamket (Tiaty), Musa Sirma (Eldama Ravine) and Reuben Kiborek (Mogotio) urged local leaders to be reasonable enough and prioritise security above any other agendas if the county is to move forward.
“What is remaining is for the leaders to walk the talk because our residents have suffered the most from this insecurity challenge,” he said.
Makilap pledged to team up with other leaders in fixing the insecurity challenge which he said has outlived its time.
“We shall go to any length to ensure that peace and order is restored within our common borders so that our people live in peace,” he said.
Jematiah in a rejoinder said no development shall be realised when residents were still living in the bushes away from their homes for fear of bandit attacks.
She called for immediate resettlement of internally displaced persons and the security apparatus to go after a few criminals who were causing lawlessness in parts of Baringo North and Baringo South.
“Development should only be done when everybody has settled in their rightful land and we cannot plan as leaders to offer development to our people yet they are suffering in silence,” she quipped.
Cheptumo in his remarks urged leaders to be role models by becoming agents of peace and educate members of the public on the importance of peaceful coexistence.
He noted that leaders would only salvage the situation if they forged unity of purpose in convincing those members of society who still entertained retrogressive cultural practices to shun the vices and embrace peace amongst their respective neighbours.
Kamket who was on the receiving end due to insecurity menace resulting from his constituents attacking others asked his colleagues to support him in the fight against all forms of criminality reiterating that he has tried to change the mindsets of the community with a level of success.
He argued that since he was elected into office in 2017, he has managed to conduct extensive sensitization campaigns on the importance and consequences of banditry and cattle rustling activities on development pursuits of the region.
The KANU MP elect said that blame should not be heaped on one leader and called for all leaders to sit down as a united team in order to identify the underlying problems on the ground and come up with workable solutions that would help tackle the challenge once and for all.
By Benson Kelio and Joshua Kibet