A new livestock movement regulation has been introduced in the volatile North Rift region as a measure to curb the runaway cattle rustling menace in the region.
Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya has said the new regulations will ensure the source of livestock is known before permit for transportation is issued.
In the new system, the chief will be required to give consent before the County Government livestock officers can issue the important pass.
“No livestock will get out of these areas without a letter from the chief and his telephone number which will be used to make clarifications on ownership,” said Natembeya.
The regional administration boss further asked chiefs from Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet to take full charge of their areas in order to curb insecurity along the Kerio Valley region.
Speaking during a peace meeting at Teren in Kinyach area along the border of Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties in the presence of governors Stanley Kiptis (Baringo), and Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), County Commissioners Henry Wafula of Baringo and his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Dr. Ahmed Omar. Natembeya said they have employed the same regulations in Laikipia with commendable success.
“Every day we get several probox vehicles abandoned in our road blocks, the drivers who most of the time ferry sheep we believe are stolen will run away because they know they can’t prove the ownership of the cargo,” said the Regional Commissioner.
He added that the letter written by the chiefs will be used at the police roadblocks where they will make call back to the chief to ascertain ownership of the livestock.
“Do not fear pursuing these few criminals because we have given you the authority and enough support that will aid in apprehending all those who do not want other civilians to live in peace,” he said.
The Regional Commissioner wondered how animals are being moved from one location to the other without the chiefs’ knowledge yet they are the first people who can identify such vices at the grassroots.
“Unless you are not serious with your job or you are also collaborating with these criminals, this should not be happening,” he argued.
He called upon the county commissioners from the two counties to take sterner actions against such chiefs even if it means sacking them.
Natembeya was referring to a case where 17 cattle from Baringo County were stolen by rustlers believed to be from their neighbouring Elgeyo Marakwet County recently and have not been recovered therefore causing animosity between the two communities who have been coexisting peacefully.
At the same time, the Regional Commissioner cautioned local leaders against inciting residents, noting that there are some politicians who like pretending to preach peace in gatherings but are believed to be sponsoring criminal activities in the background.
Baringo Governor in his remarks said his administration is going to register all animal sale yards and provide a stamped transportation permit only to those who have complied in order to restrict ferrying of stolen animals across the porous borders and highways.
“We will not allow transportation of livestock on our roads during the night,” the Baringo County boss added.
His Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart urged communities to champion for peaceful coexistence so that the region can enjoy development.
Tolgos challenged politicians to desist from using innocent youths to cause violence and aiding criminals from this retrogressive culture.
The two county commissioners present regretted the insecurity being experienced in the area and called for dialogue especially on matters pasture.
“Pastoralist communities in this area should try to make it a habit of negotiating for pasture through their respective elders instead of forcefully invading another territory, a situation that has always fueled animosity,” said the Elgeyo Marakwet Commissioner.
According Kiptis, the government will form 15 security units which will help in tackling perennial conflict which has paralyzed development in the area including destroying of Teren Bridge which connects the two counties.
Wafula advised local leader to come with a home ground solution in order to achieve long lasting peace within the warring communities.
Other leaders who attended the security meeting convened by Natembeya included Regional Police Commander Fredrick Ochieng, Regional Education Officer Jared Obiero, TSC Regional Director, Adow M. Bardad.
By Jebichii Chepkwony and Christopher Kiprop