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July 15, 2018

Border schools only way to tame rustling, disputes - Pokot leaders

A Turkana tribesman carries his gun in order to protect his cattle from rival Pokot and Samburu tribesmen near Baragoy, Kenya February 13, 2017./REUTERS
A Turkana tribesman carries his gun in order to protect his cattle from rival Pokot and Samburu tribesmen near Baragoy, Kenya February 13, 2017./REUTERS

Pokot leaders want boarding schools built along the borders with other communities to help end livestock theft and boundary disputes.

They said education is a long-term solution to the problems and proper infrastructure must be developed to support the cause.

The leaders spoke in the wake of a resurgence of livestock theft. Several head of cattle have been stolen and one person killed.

Led by West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo and Senator Samuel Poghisio, they called for concerted efforts to roll out the projects and ensure success.

All growth projects will be a waste of resources if the county does not end rustling and conflicts, they said. The leaders spoke after opening teachers’ houses at Kanyarkwat Girls’ High School near the border of West Pokot and Uganda.

“The national and county governments and other stakeholders should join hands to ensure pastoralist communities realise meaningful development,” Poghisio said.

The church also has a role to play in reforming society. Poghisio urged clerics to promote peace and reconciliation and welcome reformed warriors.

Lonyangapuo said the county will build four model schools, where children from the warring communities will learn together.

“Learning together will help unite the communities. In the near future, we’ll be having a new generation that will appreciate the modern ways of living,” he said.

The county boss said construction of the proposed Katikomor Primary School is underway. It is situated along the border of West Pokot and Zabeny of Uganda.

Three more schools will be launched soon along the border of Pokot and the Karomoja of Uganda and the Turkana-Marakwet border, he said.

Learning in all the institutions will be free so children do not drop out because of lack of fees.

Lonyangapuo urged the communities to stop backward practices.

“It’s unfortunate that 50 years after independence Kenyans still engage in practices that undermine development,” he said.

They have mobilised leaders from all the communities to support the projects.

Lonyangapuo urged the national government to invest its resources in efforts that would result in permanent solutions. He said quick fixes will only worsen the situation and lead to loss of resources.

Recently, the leaders met with police officers who had been dispatched by Inspector General Joseph Boinnet to reconcile the Pokot and Marakwet living along the Kamolokon border.

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