Police must disarm Laikipia invaders

In Summary

• Land invasions have resumed in Laikipia with an estimated 25,000 cattle being brought in by armed Samburu and Pokot

• Heavily degraded land in northern Kenya cannot sustain large herds of cattle during the dry season

Administration Police officers Laikipia West
READY: Administration Police officers Laikipia West
Image: FILE

Land invasions have returned to Laikipia with armed Samburu and Pokot herdsmen driving around 25,000 cattle into the conservancies. Indigenous conservancies owned by the Maasai seem to be the worst affected.

in 2016 and 2017, before the last election, insecurity in Laikipia ran out of control because politicians feared to intervene in case they lost votes.

The present crisis is driven by drought in northern Kenya where severely degraded land no longer provides sufficient grazing for large cattle herds.

The problem is not local pastoralism. The invading pastoralists come from outside Laikipia. Many local pastoralists have grazing agreements inside the conservancies for the dry season. Conservancies have also built up large stocks of hay to share with local pastoralists.

Both local and central government have been investing heavily in land restoration and education to reduce the problem of over-grazing in northern Kenya. Those efforts need to be intensified.

But, in the meantime, heavily armed gunmen from outside the region cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands. The police and army need to disarm the pastoralists who have invaded Laikipia. Then the county, the conservancies and the pastoralists can seek a peaceful negotiated solution.

Quote of the day: "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

Saint Francis of Assisi
The Italian friar was canonised on July 16, 1228

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