Newly appointed Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohamed has pledged to ensure that peace prevails in all the fourteen counties of the vast cosmopolitan region.
Mohamed, who is the immediate former Makueni County Commissioner, singled out three counties around Kerio Valley as his main priority.
The administrator stated he would be joining County Commissioners from the restive Baringo, West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet regions to initiate peace building activities and stabilize the ground.
“Out of the 14 Counties in this region, only three namely Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and West Pokot have major insecurity challenges and I commit to solve that problem,” he said.
The region has experienced incessant killings and banditry attacks in which about 50 people have been shot dead and hundreds of livestock stolen in the vast region covering Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Baringo counties, in the last five months.
Speaking at the Regional headquarters in Nakuru when he officially assumed office from his predecessor George Natembeya, the administrator put on notice politicians intending to issue inflammatory remarks as the countdown to August General Election begins.
“Security is my number one priority. I will ensure lives and property of all Kenyans within this region are secure. Those involved in armed conflicts and cattle rustling activities should know that I will not relent in what Mr. Natembeya put in place to restore peace and order,” he said.
Natembeya, who was promoted from Narok County Commissioner two and half years ago and deployed as Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, resigned last week to vie for the Trans-Nzoia Gubernatorial seat.
Mohamed stated that security personnel would be keenly monitoring activities of politicians in the region and warned that he would not hesitate to order the arrest of individuals implicated in promoting war like activities and inciting Kenyans along political and ethnic lines.
Mohamed who was accompanied by all the County Commissioners from the region during the press conference said Laikipia was largely safe from the Ol-Moran area where Laikipia Nature Conservancy is located.
“The main call of this office is to protect lives and property and have the machinery to do so,” he said.
He further pointed out that the government would also start using drones to monitor activities of criminals who stole livestock and disappeared into the bushes.
Some of the challenges facing small pockets of the region include recurring ethnic violence, cattle rustling, banditry, land disputes, retrogressive cultures, environmental conservation, and an easily politically destabilised region.
Although the cases have reduced, ethnic violence in the Rift has historically been precipitated by political differences, limited natural resources, and land ownership.
The Regional Commissioner added “Never again shall we allow our people to go to war over political differences. We must respect individual convictions about politics.”
By Jane Ngugi and Dennis Rasto