• Rotich said hundreds of development projects have stalled due to banditry.
• Mandago said it is only through education that residents will find better ways of empowerment rather than being confined to cattle rustling and banditry.
At least 45 people were killed by bandits in 2021 in the Kerio Valley region.
Leaders and residents hope that the attacks will not spill over into the New Year.
Those killed included women, men, schoolchildren and security officers who were shot dead in the attacks.
“It has been a bloody year in the Kerio Valley but we pray that the same does not happen in the New Year 2022. We hope our people will live in peace moving forward,” Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor Wesley Rotich said.
He said they are tired of attending funerals for victims of banditry attacks and all residents want is peace and security.
Rotich said hundreds of development projects have stalled due to banditry.
The counties of Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Baringo are the most affected and governors Alex Tolgos, John Lonyangapuo and Stanley Kiptis respectively have pledged to work with the government, churches and communities to restore peace.
“As we move into the New Year, we will step up peace and unity activities considering that we are also heading to the elections period. We do not want anyone to take advantage of the situation and cause more problems for residents,” Tolgos said.
North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) chairman Jackson Mandago, who is also the Uasin Gishu governor, has urged parents and leaders from the affected counties to educate their children as one way of finding a lasting solution to the problem.
Mandago said it is only through education that residents will find better ways of empowerment rather than being confined to cattle rustling and banditry.
He spoke during the fifth graduation ceremony at West Pokot Teachers' Training College in Kapenguria, West Pokot.
The governor said there are unexplored minerals in some of Noreb counties due to prolonged insecurity challenges.
“The counties in the region have huge potential in terms of possible catalysts of economic growth like minerals which can't be exploited amid insecurity problems,” Mandago said.
Governors in the region have asked the national government to hire National Police Reservists and deploy them to help communities fight banditry. However, Rift Valley regional coordinator George Natembeya said the plan is a long-term measure.
He said despite the election fever, the government had mapped out the region for security deployments to ensure that residents live in peace.
“We urge all our leaders to also work for peace. Our security teams will be on high alert and no one will be allowed to disrupt peace,” Natembeya said.
Edited by A.N