CURSED, CAJOLED OUTLAWS

Pay us for ending banditry, say Pokot, Marakwet elders

Counties, state promised to facilitate dangerous peacemaking but reneged on their pledges.

In Summary

• They threaten to end their peacemaking work if county and national governments fail to facilitate them as agreed. 

• They say they have been using their own resources to traverse dangerou areas. 

Pokot Council of Elders chairman Samson Kachio, 79, and other elders from North Rift after a meeting in Kerio Valley on December 1.
PAY FOR PEACE: Pokot Council of Elders chairman Samson Kachio, 79, and other elders from North Rift after a meeting in Kerio Valley on December 1.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Pokot and Marakwet elders — who cursed bandits and cajoled them — demand pay for peacemaking and ending banditry in the Kerio Valley.

They want the government to recognise and pay them allowances "for the work crisscrossing the region to help communities engage in dialogue, peace and reconciliation", Pokot Council of elders chairman Samson Kachio said.

“Both the national and county governments asked us to help mediate and promised to support and facilitate our work. But they abandoned us yet we have worked hard until there is normalcy in Kerio Valley,” he said. 

We have used our own resources to travel to harsh areas risking our lives. We have achieved peace without support we needed from government. Let them give us an allowance, a token of appreciation.
Samson Kachio, Pokot elders chairman 

The elders, who met in Kerio Valley on Sunday, threatened to withdraw their peacemaking services if the county and national governments fail to facilitate them as agreed.

Kachio said that it was through their peace initiatives that calm had returned to Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Turkana, Baringo and Samburu counties with almost no cases of banditry reported in four months.

“We have been using our own resources to travel to very harsh areas and risk our lives. But we have achieved peace without the support we needed from the government. Let them give us some allowance as a token of appreciation,” he said. 

“It is unfortunate the government has failed to recognise us and give the elders some appreciation. The government has been unable to end banditry for many years but we have done it and we deserve recognition.” 

The elder said they had applied traditional and cultural methods instead of the government's gun orders, disarmament and other use of force.

His Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Andrew Chemweno said it was time the two levels of governments budgeted funds so elders can work effectively.

Traditional methods ncluded cursing bandits, they said. Hundreds of head of cattle stolen in raids were recovered, they said.

“Our methods have worked in many areas,” Chemweno said.

The elders said the usual tension and frequent retaliatory attacks among communities in Kerio Valley had ceased and residents were at peace.

Edited by R.Wamochie