The Maasai Council of Elders in Narok County now want the government to consider allocating at least Sh 10 Million annually to facilitate the council’s operation in promoting peace.
Council of Elders’ Chairman Kelena Ole Nchoe decried that lack of funding hindered their mobility of their peace building initiatives that required travelling to conflict zones.
“We need funds to traverse the vast county to solve disputes such as inter-communal conflicts, gender violence and environmental related issues,” he said.
He made the call during a handing over ceremony to new leadership at the council also presided by Narok County Commissioner Evans Achoki.
“We have an office but we do not have any money to run it. This is a big office that the county and national government should recognize and fund. We wrote a Sh 11Million proposal to the county government but we are yet to get any response,” said Ole Nchoe.
He observed that with financial assistance, the elders have the capacity to resolve the backlog of land-related cases that are lying in court through alternative land dispute formula, which is allowed by law.
“We ask those with land-related issues lying in court to drop the cases and opt for alternative dispute resolution. Since the elders are in every village, they know the history of such lands and can offer quick and effective solutions,” said the newly installed chairman.
He said the elders have been in the past forced to sell their own livestock in a bid to resolve community disputes, something that was straining their families.
Ole Nchoe inherited the seat from Francis Ole Nooseli who resigned from the seat late last year.
County Commissioner Achoki hailed the role played by elders in dispute resolution and asked them to be on the forefront in fighting retrogressive cultural practices.
“Elders have a huge role in solving issues that could otherwise get out of hand and cause conflicts and insecurity and this cannot be ignored. I will work with them all the way,” said the commissioner.
He asked them to aggressively fight Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages that he said were threatening the future of the girl child in the area.
“I want the elders to set a good example by pointing out culprits of FGM and early marriages so that they can face the full force of the law. I do not expect elders to hide criminals or be part of those who marry teenage girls,” he said.
He also urged them to be peace ambassadors and ensure that all the communities living in the cosmopolitan county coexist harmoniously.
By Ann Salaton