Sports contests help arrest conflict, banditry in Laikipia

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi (right) and his Deputy John Mwaniki in a dance after completing Nanyuki-Louniek amateur race to promote tourism in the county on November 25, 2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Clergy from the Catholic Church, leaders and youths from Ol Moran ward have organised tournaments geared towards fostering peace among the Pokot, Samburu, Tugen, Kikuyu and Turkana communities.
  • Laikipia Deputy Governor John Mwaniki said cases of perennial cattle rustling and tribal clashes have over the years given leaders and security agents a hectic time.

A truce among communities that have over the years been engaged in perennial tribal conflicts and banditry in Laikipia West Sub-County has been created through sports.

Clergy from the Catholic Church, leaders and youths from Ol Moran ward have organised tournaments geared towards fostering peace among the Pokot, Samburu, Tugen, Kikuyu and Turkana communities.

The festival, which started last month, ended on Sunday at Ol Moran grounds where women and youth participated in thrilling football and volleyball tournaments.

Speaking to journalists, area Catholic priest Peter Kinyua said they had minimised criminal activities and consumption of drugs over the last two months.

"When we bring together all the tribes through games, cohesion is created and enmity is eradicated. Through peace, we will gain a constructive future of this area," the priest said.

Mary Nasieku, 50, said she opted to join the volleyball team not only to reduce the high blood pressure that has been attacking her persistently, but also to sensitise girls on the need to embrace education and resist oppressive cultural practices like Female Genital Mutilation.

"At the beginning, residents were astonished seeing a group of elderly women playing with our teenage daughters but we did not give up. I’m now free from high blood pressure and my weight has reduced due to sports," Nasieku said.

Laikipia Deputy Governor John Mwaniki said cases of perennial cattle rustling and tribal clashes have over the years given leaders and security agents a hectic time.

"As leaders, we decided to change tack in ending these vices by coming up with tournaments. Youths are usually manipulated to cause conflicts while women are left to suffer at their homes. It is pleasant seeing them playing together and embracing peace," Mwaniki said.

He said that the county administration, through the department of sports, will spearhead the initiative in other wards where there are warring communities.

"We will soon be scouting for youths who are excelling well in games and find a way of how to nurture their talents,” Mwaniki pledged.

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