The senseless violence in Ol Moran, Laikipia County, requires a carefully-thought-out strategy to silence the guns and extinguish the raging fires. It is tragic that the conflict has persisted for years and defied all containment measures.
In the latest flare-up, at least eight people have been killed, homes torched and tens of families displaced and forced to seek sanctuary in churches and camps. Several schools have been burnt and learners forced out of classes. Economic activities have been shattered.
The causes of the conflict are complex, ranging from class, ethnic and race divisions. Added to this is politics; where some political leaders manipulate the inherent rivalries to perpetuate animosity and achieve selfish goals.
We take note of what the government has done so far. During this past week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and top government officials have visited the region and held meetings with residents to find a lasting solution to the mayhem.
For good measure, the government has set up new police stations, posted new officers and shuffled existing security teams in a fresh bid to restore normalcy. The objective is to enhance surveillance and guarantee swift responses in case of attacks.
Nevertheless, the violence persists. This means that the real solution has not been found. We cannot countenance a situation where a county is held captive by criminals who ride roughshod over residents.
The immediate task is to contain the violence, flush out the attackers and restore normalcy. Second, the government should get to the root of the problem, including resource scarcity and extraneous interference, and end the chaos.
It must do everything possible to avert the slide to anarchy. It should rein in the perpetrators of the mayhem and resolve long-standing inequalities that compound the chaos.