The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), has expressed concern over the continued state of insecurity in Marsabit County and called for stringent measures to tame the situation.
The Council’s coordinating committee for the Upper Eastern Region has also pointed out the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic and asked residents to dutifully continue observing the Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols.
In a statement to the press after a daylong deliberation on statutory business of the church and the state of Marsabit County, the Committee through its Chairperson, Rt. Reverend Qampicha Wario, the Council pointed out that despite various security initiatives there were concerns over increased breaches of the same.
The Committee called for action towards ending cattle rustling and recovery of stolen animals which they said was aggravating the poverty situation in the region.
“There has also been several incidents of cattle rustling and many of those stolen livestock are still at large,” they said in the statement, adding that law enforcement agencies should be more vigilant.
The Council also called for collaboration between the two levels of government on security matters, saying the church and the residents ought to be involved in the peace and safety initiatives.
The council identified lack of political good will, mistrust of peace coordinators and cultural barriers as among hindrances of peace and cohesion in the county.
Reverend Wario said that lack of clear administrative boundaries, rivalry over resources and seemingly slow security interventions were also a barrier to peace building in the County inhabited by more than 14 pastoralist communities.
Regarding the expected referendum on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the upcoming 2022 electioneering process the Council called on residents to guard against political inclinations that could create divisions.
The Chairperson said in the statement that civil society organizations as well as the media would be expected to play their role in an accountable manner.
The civil society groups were asked to preach peaceful coexistence among various communities as they went about mobilizing citizens to participate in elections, while the media was called upon to promote peace by being accountable to the news they provided.
The Committee also urged religious leaders to strive to build cordial relationships that would enhance tolerance and co-existence among the faithful.
“We shall be networking with the County security stakeholders in building peace and maintenance of security,” they said.
The Church urged the proponents of the constitutional amendment process to take the initiative to bridge the divergent views with a view to having a consensus on the contentious issues.
At the same time, NCCK called on residents of Marsabit to take an active role in the process so as to be able to make informed decisions in the referendum and general elections.
The leaders called on wananchi to continue observing the Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols on covid-19 in order to avoid contracting the deadly virus and also help in stopping its spread.
By Sebastian Miriti