•Elected leaders vowed to unite in the fight against the perennial menace of banditry and cattle rustling
•They also expressed confidence in president-elect William Ruto that he will fix the matter.
Emotive speeches on insecurity and call for peace dominated the swearing-in ceremony of Baringo Governor-elect Benjamin Cheboi on Thursday.
Cheboi however pledged to bring together leaders to address the perennial challenge of banditry and cattle rustling which has claimed several lives.
“I will be lying if I say I will fight the menace of insecurity alone, we must discuss together with my fellow elected leaders and bring lasting solutions,” he said.
More than 300 people have lost their lives, hundreds injured, thousands displaced and their livestock stolen by armed bandits who laid frequent attacks in recent days.
Cheboi took the oath of office after dethroning outgoing Stanley Kiptis in the August 9th elections. Kiptis also attended the ceremony and handed over power to his successor.
Among the leaders present were the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Senato-elect William Cheptumo, Woman Representative Florence Jematia, Baringo North MP-elect Joseph Makilap, Musa Sirma(Eldama-Ravine), Charles Kamuren(Baringo South), Reuben Kiborek(Mogotio) and Baringo-born Labor Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui.
Present also were Tiaty MP William Kamket, his competitor Asman Kamama, County Commissioner Abdirisak Jaldesa and police commander Adams Bungei.
“It is about time now we should come together as leaders of Baringo to discuss on ways of calming down the guns and bringing together our communities to coexist in peace,” Cheptumo said.
He said it should no longer be an issue for the affected people of Baringo North or Baringo South, “all of us must participate in fighting it” he said.
He was backed by Eldama-Ravine MP Musa Sirma, Charles Kamuren(Baringo South) and Woman Representative Florence Jematia who called on the people of Baringo to speak out against the retrogressive culture of banditry.
Kamuren said over 400 people have so far been killed by bandits.
“These are the people who lost their lives from 2012 until the recently concluded 2022 elections, they were not sick or involved in road accidents but they were just shot dead by bandits,” he said.
Jematia however suggested that there should be no launching of any serious development project in the county until the issue of insecurity is addressed.
“It doesn’t make any sense to open roads, build schools or drill boreholes when some people are still spending nights in the cold bushes. They must be resettled in their homes and assured their peace before anything” she said.
Jematia said she is eagerly waiting for the conclusion of the petition and the swearing-in of president-elect William Ruto.
“I will personally hold his hand to touch the ground in Baringo and deliver his manifesto of finishing these life-taking vices,” she said.
Kamket however echoed the leaders’ sentiments saying he will support any idea brought forwards in a bid to end the menace of banditry.
“I have personally tried my best and it is even evident that the tribal wars have reduced since I took over the office in 2017” he said.
He added that owing to the menace, his people have really been left behind development-wise.
Jaldesa also said he has tried to mobilize his security team to arrest the matter.
“At least now the situation is better than when I assumed office early this year,” he said.
He pledged to work closely with the elected leaders to tackle the issue and resettle the displaced victims, including opening the schools which were closed down.
Cheptumo lauded the commissioner for sticking to his mandate without leaning toward politics like his predecessor.
“That is the kind of security boss we want here in Baringo,” he said.