North Rift leaders fret that displaced residents may not vote

Kerio Valley bandit attack

Men armed with bows and arrows keep vigil at a hill in the border village of Kapturo in Baringo North on February 20, 2022.

Photo credit: Florah Koech | Nation Media Group

Leaders in insecurity-hit counties in the North Rift region have expressed fears that most voters will not participate in the August 9 General Election after being displaced from their homes.

Displaced families are reluctant to return to their homes due to fears of more attacks despite intensified security patrols to contain retaliatory attacks.

The hard-hit counties include Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Turkana and West Pokot. The government has launched an operation in the regions to seize illegal firearms.

More than 30 guns and several rounds of ammunition have been confiscated.

Leaders from the affected counties now want the government to beef up security in the troubled Kerio Valley to allow voters to exercise their democratic right of electing their leaders.

Clerics from Uasin Gishu receiving peaceful campaign agreement documents from various institutions championing for peaceful campaign ahead of August 9 polls.

Photo credit: Titus Ominde | Nation Media Group

Led by Simon Kalekem, the Pokot South UDA parliamentary hopeful, they said the recurrent attacks were undermining the livelihood of locals.

“It is unfortunate that the attacks continue in the region despite the presence of security personnel, and it is our appeal to the government to find a lasting solution," said Mr Kalekem.

Lawrence Mutwol, an independent candidate who is battling it out with Bowen Kangogo for the Marakwet East parliamentary seat, said voters in the region should be guaranteed security during the campaign and voting period.

The government has imposed a 30-day curfew in the Kerio Valley to tame runaway insecurity caused by cattle raids and bandit attacks.

Three pupils of Tot Primary School in Marakwet East constituency were shot dead and six other people injured in recent armed attacks.

But the government spokesman, retired Col Cyrus Oguna, has assured the affected families of their security.

"There is no cause for alarm in Kerio Valley over looming insecurity since all public primary and secondary schools have resumed normal learning programmes after the government restored law and order last month, “said Mr Oguna.

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