What you need to know:
- The farmer was hacked to death, allegedly by livestock herders from a neighbouring county, as the long-running dispute over pasture continued.
- The murder of Mutuku Mwango sent shock waves beyond the neighbourhood and set off protests in the region.
- On Monday, officers fired into the air to disperse a crowd that had stormed Mutha Police Station demanding answers on rising insecurity.
Tension was high in Kekyaa village, Kitui County, yesterday after a farmer was hacked to death, allegedly by livestock herders from a neighbouring county, as the long-running dispute over pasture continued.
The murder of Mutuku Mwango sent shock waves beyond the neighbourhood and set off protests in the region.
On Monday, officers fired into the air to disperse a crowd that had stormed Mutha Police Station demanding answers on rising insecurity.
Angry residents paralysed activities at a weekly open-air livestock market in Mutha, barring traders from neighbouring Tana River County from accessing the venue.
Dozens of traders who had come from as far away as Mombasa and Nairobi for their regular supply of Galla goats and sheep went back empty-handed.
“We are sending a strong message that it will not be business as usual in this region until security is restored,” Mr Nthenge Longosi, the chairman of the Mutha livestock market, said.
A week before Mr Mwango was killed, his family had received Sh3,000 as compensation from herders who had attacked his wife.
“Three herders started arguing with me when they found me working on a section of our farmland. They claimed that I had encroached on the farm they had leased to graze their animals. I fled after one of them hit me on the back with a stick,” Ms Mueni Mutua, Mr Mwango’s widow said.
The protests came a day after Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai and his Kitui South counterpart Rachael Nyamai, joined a high-level security team led by County Commissioner Erastus Mbui in a fact-finding tour of the region.
This followed days of demonstrations by residents who accused the police and county officials of turning a blind eye to the destruction caused by camels and their herders.
Ms Nyamai produced a list of 48 people she claimed had been killed by livestock herders recently.
The list included Muteti Kakuti, a Standard Seven pupil at Kalambani Primary School who was killed in August.
The Nation learned that he was in the company of adults who were eating meat from the carcass of a camel found in the thickets near Kalambani township.
A gang of gun-trotting camel herders struck under the cover of darkness.
The lawmakers claimed that President William Ruto’s Defence Cabinet secretary nominee Aden Duale owns some of the camels that were roaming the drought-stricken county as they called for the arrest and prosecution of the herders who killed Mr Mwango.
“We have given Mr Duale five days to get his camels off our land,” said Mr Mbai.
He threatened to confiscate any remaining animals. Mr Duale denied having animals grazing in Kitui County.
“I have checked with my workers. They are not in Kitui. They are grazing in Boka area in Bura constituency in Tana River County,’’ Mr Duale told the Nation.
He explained his team first negotiates with owners of grazing land in the presence of local administrators before bringing in the livestock.