Samburu want to meet Uhuru over grazing

Cattle on Ol Maisor cattle ranch in Laikipia on May 9. Herders have occupied the ranch and others in the county /THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/KATY MIGIRO
Cattle on Ol Maisor cattle ranch in Laikipia on May 9. Herders have occupied the ranch and others in the county /THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/KATY MIGIRO

Samburu leaders want to urgently meet President Uhuru Kenyatta to resolve grazing wrangles between herders and ranchers in Laikipia county to be sure of reelection.

Some leaders are using the problems as a campaign tool and sabotaging efforts to campaign for Uhuru, they said.

Nominated Senator Naisula Lesuuda said the grazing issues will not make Uhuru lose his reelection bid, but would complicate campaigns.

“We are not saying that the President must intervene. It is not a condition that we are giving him, but something must be done. Ranchers are working with the police who are complicating our work of convincing the people that they should vote for Uhuru,” she said.

She said the ranchers are using the police to beat up herders and sometimes kill their livestock, yet the same ranchers have held peace meetings with Pokot and Samburu herders and resolved that the pastoralists should graze their livestock without being harassed or intimidated by security officers.

The leaders said such grazing wrangles only appear during election years.

Lesuuda said some politicians are urging the pastoralists not to vote for Uhuru, as he has ordered the security operations to continue.

“I call upon the President, the internal security minister and all others involved to come and stop the ongoing security operation in Laikipia,” she said.

The senator added that the Samburu will vote for Uhuru, but urged him to address their issues before the election date.

Samburu Senator Sammy Leshore said residents did not vote for Uhuru in 2013 due to the same Laikipia grazing issues. He urged Uhuru to meet Samburu leaders, herders and ranchers over the issue.

Leshore said Uhuru might not get the Samburu, Laikipia and Narok votes if he does not hold an urgent meeting to resolve the issue.

Samburu woman representative Maison Leshoomo said Jubilee leaders are working day and night to campaign for Uhuru’s reelection, but the Laikipia issue is becoming a thorn in the flesh.