Organised criminal gangs in Nakuru have dealt a major setback to efforts to promote peace and cohesion in the region, which is viewed as a violence hotspot.
Peace groups have raised concerns over attacks by the gangs ahead of August 9 General Election.
Woman Rep Liza Chelule, who is among the peace champions in the county, said residents were worried.
Ms Chelule, whose peace initiatives saw her get the moniker Mama Cohesion, blamed unemployment among young people and police laxity.
She urged the authorities to deal with the gangs and other threats to peace and security.
She also challenged parents and society as a whole to supervise children and ensure that they engage in productive activities.
“We are calling upon the authorities to be committed in fighting these gangs while at the same time challenging parents to guide their children on how to productively utilise their energies,” Ms Chelule said.
She spoke in Nakuru city during a thanksgiving service with 40 students who benefited from her Masomo Mwangaza programme, which sponsors the education of bright but needy students.
Rekindled the hopes
She said the programme had rekindled the hopes of poor children across Nakuru’s 55 wards and pushed them to achieve their dreams and change their lives.
At least three quarters of the beneficiaries attained the minimum grade to join universities and were waiting for admission.
“We are glad that today we are celebrating the achievements of this programme, where we have transformed the lives of the 40 students who have finished their four-year secondary education and excelled in the exams,” Ms Chelule said.
Among the beneficiaries was Hezron Ndichu, from Elburgon, who scored a mean grade of B+ at Elburgon Secondary School. He will join Chuka University to study electronics and electrical engineering.
The teenager thanked Ms Chelule for sponsoring his education and giving him an opportunity to pursue his dreams.
“I had lost hope of ever achieving my dream career but the programme gave me an opportunity to better myself,” Ndichu said.
Ms Chelule noted that the programme would continue in order to transform the lives of more children.
She cited some of her achievements in the last five years, including equitable distribution of resources across the 55 wards through projects such as table banking and tents.