Compensate widows of Kerio Valley conflict, MP says

Women and children migrate to safer grounds in Samburu in this file photo. In the Kerio Valley belt where banditry is rampant, women and children have been forced to migrate to safer areas, with many children dropping out of school.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • West Pokot woman representative Rael Kasiwai, and her Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Caroline Ng’elechei, have vowed to rally residents to embrace peace and shun conflict.
  • Fresh attacks have left more than five people dead since the beginning of the year.
  • The leaders want increased involvement of women in conflict and peace mediation processes.

As insecurity continues to sweep across the troubled Kerio Valley belt, sending the locals into disarray, women Members of Parliament from the North Rift region have stepped up their efforts to end the long lasting strife.

Led by West Pokot woman representative Rael Kasiwai, and her Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Caroline Ng’elechei, they vowed to rally residents to embrace peace and shun conflict. They intend to do this through local dialogues, outreaches and sports.

Fresh attacks have left more than five people dead since the beginning of the year, with many families displaced and learning paralysed in schools.

“We now want increased involvement of women in conflict and peace mediation processes, as a strategy to ensure that peaceful coexistence is realized in counties with perennial conflicts” said Ms Kasiwai.

The women said they would come up with a group to deal with the eradication of poverty, which is deeply rooted among its locals, as well as stage campaigns to ensure proper sensitization to promote development and eradicate retrogressive practices.

“Women can actively participate in and pitch their voices in local peace and security committees where they have previously been side-lined, especially those from pastoralist communities,” noted Ms Kasiwai.

Death toll

The leaders expressed concern over harm inflicted on women during banditry attacks along the West Pokot, Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo counties.

Speaking at a peace meeting at Chesegon in West Pokot on Sunday, the leaders expressed grief over the death toll along the borders of warring communities and vowed to work at the grassroots to ensure peace prevails.

“We must have healing and trust through intercommunity dialogue. We are going to meet women and tell their husbands shun going for raids. We shall talk to warriors and elders, and engage them with the government. We shall take peace caravans to remote villages,” said Ms Kasiwai.

The county MP noted that most affected, especially in the current border disputes in Kerio Valley, are women, many of whom have been widowed after their husbands died in the raids.

“We want to ensure animosity and cattle rustling ends, and residents embrace development,” said Ms Kasiwai.

The two leaders called on other legislators to support the peace initiative.

“The government should offer alternative means of survival to those who surrender their firearms (to the state),” said Ms Ng’elechei.

She added that women and children have been forced to migrate to safer areas, with many children dropping out of school.

“Many children are not in school because of the lapse of security,” she said.

She urged the county and national governments to compensate widows whose husbands died in the conflict along the border West Pokot, Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet and Uganda.

“We are surprised at how the number of widows is rising in the area, yet they have no one to support them. They need help,” she said.

  

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