CHINESE FIRM FAULTED

Alcohol donation a mockery, say starving Baringo families

Residents are 'crying to get at least some few kilogrammes of grains to feed their families'

In Summary

• Drought has hit parts of Baringo North and South subcounties.

• The government donated relief food last month before a Chinese firm chipped in.

Tiaty Member of Parliament (MP) William Kamket (right in cap) joins Chinese officials to taste some alcohol donated to his hungry residents at Katikit village
Tiaty Member of Parliament (MP) William Kamket (right in cap) joins Chinese officials to taste some alcohol donated to his hungry residents at Katikit village
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

As Baringo grapples with recurrent banditry, residents are disgruntled by the sending of relief food to regions attackers hail from, and the inclusion of alcohol.

Last month, the government rushed to feed thousands of residents in Tiaty, Baringo county after a media exposé.

On March 19, Devolution CS, Eugene Wamalwa and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi landed in a chopper to donate 1,000 bags of maize and beans at Nginyang to feed the hungry in Tiaty subcounty.

Banditry survivors in Baringo North and South, however, faulted Pokots for playing the victim when in need of humanitarian assistance.

We are still in pursuit of some few criminals, bandits, because not all Pokots are criminals. Most are peace-loving people, in need of economic development.
Rift Valley regional coordinator Mwongo Chimwoga

“But once the rain sets in and livestock grow fat, they will polish their guns and utilise their renewed energies to plan fresh attacks to kill, maim and steal people’s livestock in neighbouring communities,” Arabal resident Haron Kipkurwo said.

He said Tiaty MP William Kamket (formerly Baringo speaker) is on record saying in 2014 that Pokots are not raiding but instead “restocking” their stolen livestock, or ones that died due to prolonged drought.

The statement landed the MP and three Pokot MCAs in court, though the case was later quashed.

However, as CS Wamalwa flagged off the foodstuff, he avoided the topic, saying the government is committed to ensuring nobody dies of hunger-related illnesses in Kenya.

Present were county commissioner Henry Wafula and Deputy Governor Jacob Chepkwony.

SENSE OF NEGLECT

But as the government donates relief food, bandit attack victims in Baringo North and South feel neglected.

“We see the food being ferried in long and huge trucks to Tiaty, leaving us behind, dying of poverty, hunger and stress,” Chemorongion banditry survivor Wilson Kandie said.

He said it was a mockery when a Chinese firm donated alcohol cartons to residents in Tiaty last week, “while us here are crying to get at least some few kilogrammes of grains to feed our starving families”.

Kandie accused the Pokot of “stage-managing” their woes to attract the attention of the government or donors, something he said the Tugen and Ilchamus communities could not stoop to.

“In most cases, what Pokots do to portray their challenges in the media is not real. Sometimes they are fond of stage managing,” he said.

Kandie said their people are still very conservative, and they even prefer dying with their challenges.

Furthermore, he said, instead of crowding in IDP camps, most Tugen and Ilchamus attack victims have fled their homes to stay with their relatives in various towns, including Kabarnet, Marigat and Nakuru.

The residents appealed to the government to consider beefing up security, resettle the displaced and compensate the banditry victims to alleviate poverty.