What you need to know:
- MCAs say communities in Baringo County are still living on communal land, meaning they have no title deeds to claim ownership, a situation that has ignited inter-communal feuds due to invasion several times
- MCAs want the county government, in collaboration with NLC to urgently allocate funds for land demarcation in Baringo North and Baringo South
- They advised demarcation of land and issuance of title deeds to residents of affected areas to minimise conflicts over the invasion of land.
Baringo MCAs have endorsed a motion on banditry, rooting for the demarcation of land in border regions in a bid to address perennial conflicts and insecurity.
The motion tabled by Bartabwa MCA David Sitoi also sought to compel the Baringo county government to create a fund to help families living in deplorable conditions in temporary camps after they were displaced from their homes by bandits.
The MCAs want the county government, in collaboration with the National Land Commission (NLC) to urgently allocate funds for land demarcation in the volatile Baringo North and Baringo South to solve boundary feuds, blamed for bloody conflicts among warring neighboring communities.
“We also want to compile data of all affected families so that the devolved unit can have the statistics and analyze how to help them,” said Mr Sitoi, while tabling the motion.
Protracted boundary feuds and limited resources along the border areas have over the years been blamed for bloodbaths in the region.
For instance, in the porous Kapedo bordering Baringo and Turkana counties, boundary disputes have been cited as the major issue pitting the Pokot and Turkana communities in the area. The two communities lay claim to the disputed 18-acre land, a factor that complicates peace efforts.
Leaders from Tiaty sub-county have constantly claimed that Kapedo and Lomelo regions belong to Baringo, and have been annexed unfairly by the Turkana.
However, those from Kapedo claim that the disputed area is in Turkana East sub-county in Turkana county. They rely on the 1963 boundary map.
At the disturbed border in Mukutani inhabited by the minority Ilchamus and the Pokot, more than 15 villages — Rine, Lendorok, Ilmeut, Lontiani, Loromoru, Akule, Lelerai, Karau, Kabikoki, Iltirach, Keperwasu, Lekiricha, Loorisio, Lorukon, Nomase, Ndorot, Ramacha, and Losokoni — have been deserted since 2005 due to constant attacks by bandits.
Some of the abandoned villages have been inhabited by the neighbouring community and renamed, with new schools emerging under new names, said former area chief Benjamin Lecher.
For instance, Rine has been renamed Plesian, Lendorok to Ponpon, Ilmeut to Chepkenti, Kabukoki to Matunda, and Lontiani to Murkutwo.
“What is this if not invasion? Before the invasion, houses were looted and razed,” Mr Lecher said.
Moving the motion, Mr Sitoi said the county government should consider setting up a special bursary fund for school fees for students in the porous regions whose families have been turned paupers after livestock, their only source of livelihood, was wiped out by raiders.
“Gun-wielding bandits have killed several people, some are yet to be buried, leaving residents in parts of Baringo extremely devastated, impoverished, displaced, and schooling disrupted in the volatile villages. Some learners have also dropped out of school after their sole providers were killed and their livestock is stolen,” he stated.
Tangulbei/ Korosi MCA Shadrack Mailuk advised demarcation of land and issuance of title deeds to residents of affected areas to minimise conflicts over the invasion of land.
Mr Mailuk said communities in Baringo County are still living on communal land, meaning they have no title deeds to claim ownership, a situation that has ignited inter-communal feuds due to invasion several times.
“For instance, a person living in Silale in Tiaty East thinks he can freely drive his livestock to Chemoe in Baringo North to look for pasture during dry spells,” said Mr Mailuk.
“It is important that land in Baringo County, especially in the volatile areas is demarcated so that everyone owns their portion. This will prevent herders from moving with their livestock from place to place sparking conflicts,” he stated.
His Kabarnet ward counterpart Ernest Kibet blamed the constant attacks on the lack of title deeds in villages near the border.
“If we demarcate the boundaries of Baringo North, Baringo South, and Tiaty Sub-counties and give people title deeds, we will be able to solve the problem of insecurity once and for all,” said Mr Kibet.
Nominated MCA Robert Cheruiyot blamed the proliferation of firearms and marginalization of the remote villages for the runaway insecurity menace.
“I have traversed several areas in Tiaty and I can confirm that those areas have been left behind in development. Most of the areas have no roads or social amenities,” he said.
“The marginalisation of Tiaty is aiding banditry because it we have illegal groups that are not organized and operating in lawlessness. Sub-division of land will reduce issues of marginalization,” he said.
In 2005, locals fled the area and the remaining few settled at the safer Mukutani shopping centre, near security camps, even though attacks persist.
A spot check by Nation revealed that from the porous Mukutani, the next village where people have settled is Mosuro, a distance of approximately 27 km, which used to host dozens of villages in the past. It is now a haven for bandits.
MCA Sharon Keter wondered where locals in the volatile villages get guns yet there is no armoury in the region.
“For every problem to be solved, you have to dig deeper into the root cause. I advise the National Government to utilize the micro-chip implant technology on livestock to tame perennial stock theft. If they have managed to use it on our wildlife, then it will also work on our livestock,” said Ms Keter.
Churo/ Amaya MCA Diana Siriti blamed the government for being lenient on bandits AND failing to arrest and arraign them in court, despite local communities giving out suspects’ names.