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ARMOURY

Isiolo residents say conservancies help them

Criticise governor's remarks that conservancies keep armouries, fuel conflicts

In Summary

• Say they have enhanced peace among communities.

•Protested calls to abolish them last week. 

NRT umbrella conservancy members protesting against Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti's remarks on abolishing conservancies, demo on April 18
CREATE JOBS: NRT umbrella conservancy members protesting against Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti's remarks on abolishing conservancies, demo on April 18
Image: GERALD MUTETHIA

Isiolo residents have defended the presence of an armoury at the Northern Rangeland Trust. 

NRT officials said there are good relationships within conservancies, citing the "life-changing services" it offers to residents. 

They They can threaten, attack, sexually assault or even kill victims. They said abolishing them would make residents who benefit suffer.

Burat MCA Hassan Yerrow said he will always protect the interests of residents and that he fully supports services provided by NRT. 

Residents defended the NRT and asked the government to help fund their activities and projects.

Last week, communities in Isiolo county under the NRT umbrella from Samburu, Turkana, Borana, Somali and Meru staged protests against calls to abolish conservancies. 

The communities want leaders to consult involved stakeholders before issuing statements that conflict with residents' interests.

Isiolo county commissioner John Odengo also had disputed claims of an armoury at Lewa Down Conservancy.

He said rangers in the eight conservancies are considered National Police Reservists, saying that is the reason they were issued with government guns. 

“Politics will destroy so many development projects underway through conservancies. They help us improve security. We would like NRT to carry out education for some communities to accept conservancies," Odengo said.

He asked Governor Mohamed Kuti, who criticised conservancies, to talk with involved parties to reach an amicable solution.

Isiolo has eight community conservancies: Biliqo Bulesa, Nakuprat-Gotu, Oldonyiro, Nasuulu and Leparua.  Oldonyiro conservancy is clustered into four units (Oldonyiro Narupa unit, Oldonyiro Nanapicho, Oldonyiro Naapu, Oldonyiro Nannapa).  They are all under NRT.

Omar Godana, head of Nusuulu community conservancy, read political influence in Kuti’s calling for the abolition of conservancies.

“Conservancies have created employment to hundreds of locals (rangers), improved livelihoods, curbed poaching, boosted security both for human beings and wildlife, lowered human-wildlife conflicts," Godana said. 

He mentioned other benefits of the conservancies as improvement of infrastructure in schools, issuance of bursary funds, reduced poaching and to empower and give millions of shillings to women. Godana said conservancies have enhanced peace and coexistence among communities.

"We elected them to represent us and gave them our mandates, not to bring policies detrimental to the community,” he said.

Kuti said there is an influx of weapons in Northern Kenya through private conservancies that keep armouries.

The governor said armed conflicts among pastoral communities in the region are fuelled by villagers armed and supported by the conservancies.

Isiolo Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa also blamed conservancies for increased insecurity. 

(Edited by R.Wamochie)