• MPs say banditry has decreased, residents now want peace, growth.
• Say National Police Reservists were withdrawn in May, yet to be reinstated, but now they're not needed.
The leaders instead said they want the state to revive development projects that create alternative economic activities for youth in the region that covers the three counties of Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo andWest Pokot.
MPs from the region said National Police Reservists (NPRs) who were withdrawn by the Interior Ministry for vetting in May but were yet to be reinstated have outlived their importance since residents have adopted peace.
The MPs including William Kamket (Tiaty), Kangogo Bowen (MarakwetEast), William Cheptumo (Baringo North) and William Kisang (Marakwe West) were speaking during rallies to celebrate four months of peace in Kerio Valley.
No livestock has been stolen and no lives have been lost since July when the three communities — the Pokots, Marakwets and Tugens living in the Kerio Valley —made peace.Tiaty MP William Kamket
Kamket criticised the move to arm civilians and designating them as NPR, saying it fuelled deadly inter-community fights in the region.
“NPR recruitment was a wrong move because it was tantamount to arming communities against each other. We have experienced peace since NPRs were disarmed and withdrawn,” Kamket said.
Kamket said no livestock has been stolen and no lives have been lost since July when the three communities Pokots, Marakwets and Tugens living in the Kerio Valley made peace.
This peacemaking led to reopening of abandoned markets including Chesegon in West Pokot, Kolowa in Baringo county and Tot inElgeyo Marakwet county.
The markets where communities traditionally had bartered had been abandoned for over five years but are today teeming with business.
Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen said NPR played a critical role when the communities were fighting over livestock, but they no longer have roles to play after the July peace pact.
Bowen said some NPRs still in service after vetting should be paid monthly allowances for supplementing the work of the police.
We had so many NPRs and found we can’t achieve peace through the barrel of a gun and the police. The peace is amongst us as locals and leaders.Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen
“NPRs have no role at the moment because people have embraced peace. They helped when we were troubled and they must be paid,” Bowen said.
"We have not had a single gunshot in Kerio Valley for the last four months. We have not had a single killing. We brought our people together and established peace committees," he said.
The lawmaker asked the national and county governments to support new markets to promote trade among the three communities.
“We had so many NPRs and found we can’t achieve peace through the barrel of a gun and the police. The peace is amongst us as locals and leaders,” he said.
His Marakwet West counterpart William Kisang called for fast-tracking the Sh35 billion Arror Dam, derailed by allegations of corruption.
“Kerio Valley needs water for irrigation,” the MP said.
Kisang urged the three counties in Kerio Valley to establish joint projects to spur economic growth.
He said with the peace, farmers can grow cotton to supply Eldoret-based Rivatex Textile Company that imports from neighbouring countries.
He further called for a mango processing plant in Tot, Elgeyo Marakwet, saying it will create jobs for the youth and increased production of mangos.
Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, however, called for the reinstatement of reservists, saying they are better placed to fight crime since they understand the terrain and can easily help in the recovery of stolen livestock.
Cheptumo asked the state to compensate families who lost lives and livestock during the banditry attacks since 1977.
“The responsibility of governments across the world is to protect lives and property. I will move a motion in Parliament to compel the state to compensate victims of the violence,” he said.
He urged security agencies to apprehend charge suspected bandits to restore long-lasting calm.
“Noreb has resolved there must be peace so development projects are implemented without hitches,” North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) county coordinator Joseph Makilap said.
He called for establishment of fruit- and meat- processing industries to promote agriculture and create jobs.
(Edited by V. Graham)