Samburu scoops 2005 Best Peace Committee Award
In recognition of the role played by Samburu District Peace Committee in pacifying the district and its environs, the Government of Kenya has declared the committee the best in Kenya and honoured it with a cash price of Kshs 250,000, money that will be used to support a project of the committee's choice.
These peace endevours have seen the committee members participate in major peace meetings like the Garissa Declaration that sought to evaluate and expand the Modogashe Declaration of 2001 as well as dialoguing with their counterparts Isiolo, Marsabit, Laikipia and Baringo.
Following on the alluded line of successes, one of the most outstanding contribution of the Samburu peace committee to peace building in Kenya has been the role the committee has played in the ongoing disarmament programme conducted by the government with the express aim of moping up illicit firearms that have increased severity and intensity of conflict in pastoral Kenya.
As of March 2006, the peace committee had facilitated voluntary surrender of at least 2000 assortment of illicit arms in the district. It was gratifying to note that no force was used to disarm the residents.
Prior to the disarmament, the committee went round the district and convinced their kinsmen to surrender the illicit arms for the government will henceforth provide them with security by increasing the number of Kenya Police Reservists (KPRs) among other things. It is believed that these consensus-building dialogues played a great role in the voluntary surrender of the illicit arms.
Many peace activists have hailed this move, a move that was a complete break from the previous "abortive" disarmament programmes where communities nor their representatives were not involved or consulted. The Samburu case is a lesson worth replicating everywhere the disarmament programmes is being implemented in Kenya and the region as a whole, for it not only gives a "human face" to the exercise but also try's to address the genesis of the gun culture in the region.
It is worth to note that previous disarmament attempts by the government in places such as West Pokot and Turkana districts have failed simply because the communities were not involved nor efforts to address the root causes of militarization of conflicts in the region sought. Applying military solutions to socioeconomic and political conflicts is just but missing the point.
In addition to the disarmament, the Samburtu peace committee has also played a key role in the resettlement of internally displaced conflict victims in Marti and Sulubei locations in the district. Life has come back to hitherto a void jungle with businesses mushrooming.
With help from ministry of education, the Peace committee has facilitated the reopening of 24 schools that had been closed due to insecurity. Some of these schools have been inactive for the last 10 years, dealing a major blow to school enrolment and completion efforts in the district.
Tourism in Samburu has also picked up, thanks to the prevailing peace. For instance, over the last three years, visitors to Samburu National Reserve have increased by 40%. As a result, the council revenue, which had declined and dwindled due to conflicts, has taken a new turn with remarkable increases.