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Pastoralists urged to negotiate grazing zones as drought hits hard

Members of the pastoral communities have been urged to coexist and stop pasture conflicts as most parts of their regions continue to be hit hard by the current drought because of low rainfalls experienced in the last seasons.

Speaking at a Garissa hotel, the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC) chair Dubat Amey said it is time that herding communities hold peaceful negotiations and agreements on grazing and border areas.

The Kenya livestock Marketing Council (KLMC) chairperson Dubat Amey addressing the press at Garissa. He asked pastoral communities to hold peaceful negotiations and agreements on grazing and border areas. Photo by Erick Kyalo

Amey cautioned warring communities that conflicts will result in more loss of people and their livestock and will not solve challenges already existing.

“We are not animals to kill each other and rustle their livestock over grazing zones. We need to have a conversation on how we can help each other to benefit from our livestock instead of fighting each other,” Amey said.

He further warned that government projects being implemented in these regions might not improve pastoralists’ economic status if the destruction is not stopped.

The chair urged the government to intervene and take actions against any leader, groups or society that perpetuates cattle rustling and conflicts in these regions.

“There are people who are expansionists and harbor ill motives and if not stopped will create a state of lawlessness in these arid and semi-arid regions making them ungovernable,” he added.

“The government needs to start discussing grievances that divide them and take honest actions. We also need to move with speed and restore traditional resources using negotiation mechanisms,” he noted.

Amey further asked the government to increase the authority of national administration officers (NGAO) officers to help in restoring the ability of community leaders to manage conflicts effectively.

Speaking at a fundraising event, Lagdera MP Mohamed Hire urged the KWS to let pastoralists graze at the peripherals of national parks as drought effects continue to hit hard in Garissa.

Hire said most pastoralists had moved from Garissa to neighbouring Wajir, Meru and Tana River counties in search for pasture and water.

“We are calling for help from both national and county governments to help us mitigate the effects of drought in Garissa. Let our people be allowed to graze at the peripherals of national parks,” Hire said.

By Erick Kyalo

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