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Police laxity, ineptitude to blame for Kerio Valley violence



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Protection of the lives and property of the Kenyans is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

It is sad that cattle rustling has continued between the Pokot and Marakwet. The two communities on the floor of the Kerio Valley, which are prone to the menace, have for many years been a very good example of harmonious coexistence.

However, outdated cultural practices have informed the recurrence and increase in fights between them, which have claimed hundreds of lives, and caused the loss of thousands of livestock and injuries to many.

The ongoing violence between the two communities has largely been blamed on police ineptitude and laxity.

On the most recent incident, despite advance detailed reports having being made to the police, security apparatus have failed to crack down on perpetrators of the vice.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i issued a stern warning of dire consequences for anyone causing trouble between the two communities. The execution of that directive is the duty of the police but they elected to go quiet.

Over the past month, there have been a few instances of cattle theft, which police did not address. These include the theft of five exotic cows in Murkutwa.

The bandits were pursued up to Kerio at Lotyoo and police in Kolloa accordingly notified, but they did not act on time. The names of the four culprits were given to them with a precise description of the cattle but police have never acted.

Due to such laxity, rustlers struck again, at Chewara, and made away with nine head of cattle. Accurate information was given to the police on the culprits and their whereabouts but no action was taken.

The two instances flung the door open for cattle rustlers to continue wreaking havoc in the valley, which has been turned into a battlefield.

On December 5, a gang of cattle rustlers struck in Koibirir Location and drove away several cattle and injured residents, but no action was taken.

The ineptitude, complacency and reluctance by police began when two officers, each from the Pokot and Marakwet communities, were deployed to take charge of security in the opposite areas.

The officers, probably for fear of reprisals by locals in case they did their work well, seem helpless in the face of bandit attacks.

The people of Kerio Valley want to coexist amicably with their neighbours in order to create a conducive environment for their children to go to school.

They also want to see their businesses thrive, agriculture flourish and harmony created between the communities.

The government should, therefore, move in and arrest the lawlessness before it spreads to other areas of the valley.