The Secretary of Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) Abdullahi Salat now wants the elites from North Eastern region to take the lead in sensitizing the community on the recently released BBI report.
Talking to KNA on sunday, Mr Salat said that over 80 percent of the population in the region were illiterate and could not understand the details contained in the document which he described as ‘complex’.
Salat said that majority of the residents who are pastoralists constantly on the move in search of water and pasture form their animals and have “very little or no time to read the document.”
“It’s true they are telling us to read the document but the reality on the ground is different since unlike in other regions, illiteracy level here is high. Some even don’t know how to write their names leave alone reading. How do you tell such a person to go through such a complex document as this?” Salat wondered.
“It’s for this reason that we are urging our elites who include lawyers and other scholars to come from Nairobi and the rest of the country and take our people through this document including using the local FM stations which are popular with the people,” he added.
The cleric said that BBI should capture the interest of each region’s economic strength noting that for North Eastern, it revolves around livestock, an area he regretted has not been given the attention it deserves.
“Over 80 percent of residents in Northern Kenya depend directly or indirectly on livestock. We want this particular area given priority with clear policies on how to not only improve the sector but add value to the livestock products that will translate into improving the livelihoods of our people,” he added.
Salat also urged the political class to put aside their ‘political interests’ so that they do not end up ignoring the very people who elected them into office.
“In as much as representation is good for our people, it’s also important to ensure that we come up with inputs into the BBI document that will improve the livelihoods of the very people we intend to represent,” Salat noted.
The organizing secretary lauded the recent stand by the Pastoralists’ Parliamentary Group (PPG) saying the unity displayed by the leaders was the way to go.
On Tuesday last week, the Pastoralists Parliament Group and the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) who met in Nairobi demanded to be heard by the BBI steering campaign team before the final report is tabled for the referendum.
The leaders including governors and MPs united for the pastoralists’ community and other minority groups in the country said that their grievances were not incorporated in the report, despite airing them out when the BBI team was collecting views from the public.
The leaders represent more than 10 million people residing in 15 counties and represented by 109 MPs.
On pastoralist livelihood, the leaders called for the establishment of Livestock Marketing Authority with the capacity of vessels for exporting live animals to competitive markets.
By Jacob Songok