• Cattle rustlers shot dead farmer Lucy Jennings as she was going to church last week
• The last serious flare-up of violence in Laikipia was before the 2022 election
On January 21, Lucy Jennings, a farmer in Laikipia was shot by cattle rustlers and died on Wednesday, according to her brother Njihia Mbugua.
Her death comes during a flare-up of cattle rustling in Laikipia. Lucy was targeted because squatters had invaded her farm and she was an outspoken critic of farm invasions.
The Jennings farm is 4,000 acres, smaller than many Laikipia ranches, and was purchased in 1961.
There is a legitimate question mark over the existence of Laikipia ranches, some of which exceed 100,000 acres. However, this is not rich arable land. It is dry land where one cow needs 20 acres to survive.
Some ranches are owned by Europeans or white Kenyans and some are community owned. Moreover, the invaders are Samburu and Pokot, not the Maasai who were dispossessed by the British over 110 years ago.
The invaders cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands. Government must decide if Laikipia can carry more cattle and herders. And if there is to be land redistribution, then government must carry it out with proper respect for property rights and the value of the land.
Quote of the day: "Never make a defence or apology before you be accused."
Charles I of England
The English king was executed in London on January 30, 1649