News briefs: April 2003
US$ 0.4 billion lost through Rustling and Conflicts
Between 1990 and 1999, Kenya lost 30 billion shillings to cattle rustling, a study by African Centre for Economic Growth reports. This is ten times the Euro Bank scam and twothirds the Goldenberg rip-off.
The country lost another US$ 1.3 billion, US$ 290 million and US$ 20 million through land grabbing, robberies (violent and non violent) and car jacking respectively, the report adds.
This finding makes cattle rustling second to land grabbing in vices draining the economy and contributing to poverty. It is also estimated that another whooping 15b shillings was lost to cattle rustling and banditry between 1999 and 2002 in pastoral areas.
The state, the report adds, failed to maintain security in cattle rustlingprone areas further aggravating the problem. Banditry claimed 1,200 lives between 1995 and 2000 while urban areas fell under the control of vigilante groups and outlawed sects like Mungiki.
Corruption perpetuated in form of cattle rustling will continue to rob the pastoralists a sizeable share of the national cake as potential investors relocate to safe places in East Africa. Pastoralists’ per capita income will continue to dwindle if the said communities fail to uphold peace and security.
Local leaders including MPs, councilors and chiefs should play a pivotal role in conflict resolution in their respective areas and form linkages and networks that foster security. Recent gains made in the region in terms of peace should be enhanced if the trend is to be radically altered for the better.
The current NARC government should come out forcefully and ensure that security prevails in northern Kenya. This should be a break from the previous administration that condoned the vice for political gains and control. Security apparatus should be given the go-ahead to apprehend the perpetrators of cattle rustling.
The most affected areas include Pokot, Marakwet, Turkana, Samburu, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir, Moyale and Mandera. The intermittent cattle raids and banditry have eroded the region’s potential in livestock production, the report concluded.
During the last election period, the project undertook monitoring of election violence in Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, West Pokot, Wajir and Moyale districts. All steps were taken to mitigate election violence in the cited areas. The monitoring covered the campaigns, voting day and post-election periods.
The incidences of electoral violence were more pronounced during the respective party nominations period especially during the campaign period preceding it. National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) and Kenya African National Union (KANU) were the main perpetrators of the violence in form of intimidation, threats, vote buying, outright bribery, physical confrontations and mudslinging. During the nasty electioneering period, two people were killed, scores of people injured and several houses were burnt.
This situation partly resulted to the low voter turn out during the elections. KANU, the then ruling party, widely used the provincial administration and state resources to campaign for itself and also to frustrate opposition parties. Nevertheless the post election period in which NARC emerged victorious has been peaceful.
Heavily armed Sabiny warriors from Uganda backed by the Local Defense Unit (LDU) raided Kanyeris border area, West Pokot District in early March.
It is alleged that over 3,000 cattle were driven away by the attackers and efforts to recover them have hit a deadlock. A man who lost over 300 cattle in the raid hanged himself.
Currently, tension is high in the border areas as it is rumoured that the Pokot are planning a bloody revenge. However, the respective governments, aid agencies and religious bodies are working hard to pacify the region. Ugandan authorities have been accused of laxity in efforts to recover the stolen herd.
Partnership and Collaboration
‘Peace is a group effort’. Collaboration and networking is the fountain of peace-building and conflict management. Local CSOs understand better the different perspectives and operational experiences of working with communities. This in turn facilitates not only the designing of more responsive programmes but also encourages the communities to participate in planning and to take action.
ITDGPractical Action EA collaborates with local partner CSOs such as Pokot Education and Development Programme (West Pokot), Pastoralists Community Development Organization (Marsabit), Wajir Peace and Development Committee (Wajir), Community Oriented Development Programme (Moyale and Mandera) and Vision Volunteers in Kerio valley. Other partners include World Vision (POKATUSA), VSF-Belgium, CAPE Unit, OXFAM, CCF, CIFA, Arid Lands Resource Management Programme, schools, theatre groups and religious bodies among others.
- Loima Peace Committee tours North Eastern Districts
- ITDGPractical Action-EA Conflict Management partners
- Pokot, Karamojong snub peace meeting
- Samburu Peace Committee formed
- Pokot, Marakwet celebrate peace
- From retaliation to reconciliation: pomp and ululation as Turkana hands over 11 cows to Dodoth
- Women in peace building
- "Time bomb" alarm raised: peace committee warns of rising highway banditry
- Conflict sensitivity emphasised at Entebbe workshop
- Up in flames: over 7,000 illicit weapons destroyed