Day 76 – of chaos, violence, mayhem, shooting etc or day 198 – Saturday 25th

The day passed in our new ‘normality’ of building stone walls, patrolling by foot and vehicle, a total of 7 breaks which is frustrating after our few days with only 4. A big flock of small stock seen near Matigari and moved off with a warning that they will be impounded the next time. 

I drove around the farm with the guy writing the EIA for us to continue bush clearing and  make charcoal accompanied by 3 NPR’s. He saw first hand some of damage and  was pretty shocked. He also had another interesting thought…..yes the publicity has been that this is happening only on the ‘white ranches’- we know that this isn’t true, so so many small holders farmers and their family’s have been seriously affected. What you don’t think about when you’re going  through this craziness is that there is a serious knock on effect to the greater community in Laikipia who although not connected directly over the land and grazing are affected through loss of income due to ranches having had to have stopped daily farm operations and just doing damage control and security. Any new development will now have been put on hold or just cancelled. The impact is huge and very sad. 

The enormity of the problem has been downplayed for so long, the KDF/Police operation is ongoing, and will take time as the area to cover is vast and the problem so much bigger than anyone believes. We have to stay positive and hope and pray that illegal guns will be collected, law and order will be restored, and peace will return to Laikipia – but there is still a long bumpy road ahead of us.

 Ol Maisor, Sosian, Suyian Ranches still under extreme pressure.

Yes this is now a drought – it wasn’t when all this started late last year ….now a convinient excuse…..it’s not about Kiangazi na Nyasi. 
Please keep SHARING about what is going on in Laikipia

Update -Sosian Ranch -25th March

Here are a few pics of Sosians Saturday. Bored illegal herders tried to burn some more at Richard Constants house but as there is nothingleft to burn they didn’t have much success.Life must be getting very boring for them with nothing left to destroy. 

Still large numbers of cattle on us with approx 6000 bomaed on Sosian and probably the same amount traversing us to water which is now in one dam or pools in the river. 

 This morning we found the carcass of another poached elephant near the river with the tusks removed, as we all know this is only about grass but I never knew cattle gotso hungry that they ate ivory as well…….

Speaking to some of our Samburu community grazers, who still pay for the grazing and protect the infrastructure in the north, they have been having lots of cattle go “missing” during the day as they are ushered into the invaders herds and moved on. Everyone in Laikipia is sick and tired of these people and it will never be forgotten.

Update – Ol Maisor Ranch – 25th March

Morning flight says about 5000 illegal cattle on our northern side still. 

We are trying to follow up about 200 bags of fertilizer which was stolen day before yesterday as well -worth about 600,000/-.
Still areas of the shamba we can’t get to due to Pokot. 

4 gunmen seen at the river near Joshs house yesterday I presume looking for water so they can get further into the farm.

 Pokot checking out our borehole yesterday…

Otherwise just sheep trouble to deal with on our southern side, trying to make a deal with some of the known community guys but they struggle to do as you ask as usual.

Day 75 – of chaos, violence, mayhem, shooting etc or day 197- Friday 24th

Another week almost done…..
Wall reinforcing still ongoing….tough work for our team of guys who continue hefting rocks day in day out but will be a huge achievement when it’s finally done. It’s amazing with the kilometres and kilometres of stone wall already built over the last 60 years that there is any rock left but it keeps on appearing !! 

Pokot owners of the small stock impounded came and paid their fine and headed off with their goats, took a while but by midday all was sorted.
The guys doing foot patrols repaired 4 breaks in the boundary wall and then came across a herd of cattle which they impounded and brought back to the yards with support from the NPR’s. 
The cattle belong to an opportunistic neighbour who works out of the area. Frustrating that after 2 long meetings trying to get things back to normal there is always a few people who don’t want to toe the line. I spoke to the owner by phone and explained then situation and that we would hold his cattle until a fine was paid – this was done through Mpesa and relatives who had attended both community meetings came and collected the cattle just after dark and the cattle were escorted off the farm by the Police based here.
Yes this is now a drought – it wasn’t when all this started late last year ….now a convinient excuse…..it’s not about Kiangazi na Nyasi. 
Please keep SHARING about what is going on in Laikipia

Day 74 – of chaos, violence, mayhem, shooting etc or day 196- Thursday 23rd

Another long and hot day reinforcing stretches of stone wall on the boundary, patrolling by foot along the boundary- only 4 breaks again and an armed patrol by vehicle , not supported by Police who are assisting with the operation. 

We impounded some more small stock, thankfully not the same animals and shall talk with the owners when they appear to pay their fine.

Cattle all been through the spray race and all the ear notching of the calves now upto date, the cattle are out of their bomas for a few hours each day…..not much to eat except for the Opuntia cactus !  In areas that have been burnt the thorns have been burnt off and the cattle clean up the rest, then head back to their boma for feed and hay.

Yes this is now a drought – it wasn’t when all this started late last year ….now a convinient excuse…..it’s not about Kiangazi na Nyasi. 
Please keep SHARING about what is going on in Laikipia.

Misinformation on land in Laikipia

This was sent to me by a very good friend, she’s known me for years and been here to visit – she came across this article on Facebook and asked me if it was accurate…… 

NO it isn’t accurate and I have had Peter Hetz of Laikipia Wildlife Forum reply to each point as LWF work within Laikipia all its inhabitants and can give the ACCURATE picture. Please scroll down ……have also added a note from Sean on Sosian Ranch too……….
LAIKIPIA ISSUES – Today I learnt a few things

1. 15 ranchers own 51% of Laikipia County and I’m talking land. The rest of the population share the rest

2. Laikipia is originally/historically Maasai land. Today the Maasai are left with 10% of the land. A percentage they share with the Samburu who encroached from the north

3. The ranchers charge Kshs35/cow per day as grazing fees. Maasai folks there own over 200 cows on average.

4. The ranchers use less than 50% of the land they own, the rest is fallow but privately owned.

Now our Government is again dealing with the perennial problem of skirmishes in this region by deploying para military apparatus to enforce law and order and restore normalcy as they call it. A few questions thus arise:

1. What is normalcy from the government perspective?

2. Are their solutions long time?

3. Is their attitude politically influenced rather than anything else?

A lot of research has been done in this area. The problem is known, the solutions are known and they are not what the government is providing. Let me share,

1. The ranchers own private land. Thats a given but they don’t use it all. The issue for the Maasai is not to take over these private lands but to find grazing land for their animals. Why can’t the government prevail on the ranchers to open up the sections they don’t use to the Maasai’s to graze on? They could actually paddock off grazing areas. They don’t have to charge them the 35 Bob. The Maasai can’t afford it

2. Most of these ranchers are foreigners so there comes into play the sentiment of ‘these whites are here to take over our land thus a rebellion. The locals need to be educated on the Land Act effectively but with a view of allaying their concerns as well.

3. In bringing in the GSU, Police and the KDF the government is using its power to quell down tribal sentiments as opposed to sorting out the underlying factors that bring them to play. Who is the government protecting? The locals see the government as valuing the ranchers as opposed to them. It is known that the ranchers can donate to government through their foreign networks in more ways than one. The local pastrolists have no political value because they will be out looking for grass and water for their animals on voting day anyway. Their say is therefore diminished but we forget that they are just as Kenyan as the rest of us

From Peter Hetz – Laikipia Wildlife Forum

First, please know that these facts are being pushed by a select few with an agenda based on a 2011 report that was published with eroneous figures. 

Second, please find the LFA report compiled by the LWF that puts the correct figures forward. Please feel free to share this widely. 37% of Laikipia is under large-scale ranching with owners of both African and European origin. 
Third, at present, there are over 8,500 Laikipia community cows being kept, watered and fed on Private ranch lands. All the group ranch cows total about 57,000, so more slightly more than 1/6 of community cows are being supported for in this drought. These are community breeding stock, with the intention of helping neighbours get back on their feet after the end of the drought. 
Fourth – There are about 35,000 cows on the “large ranches” of Laikipia. 
Fifth – Pastoralist occupied lands in Laikipia – both group ranches and those living on “abandoned” lands totals just over 32% of the landscape of Laikipia. These areas have been hit by the triple-whammy of drought, invasive plant species, and overgrazing. The people on these lands are our neighbours, and have been uable to defend themselves against outsiders who depleted any grass reserves they had on their lands last year.
Sixth – Almost every large ranch has some form of “neighborhood” grazing agreement in place. It’s true that these are not transparent or similar, but there already is in place an effort to publicize and standardize these types of agreements both annually, and seasonally. 
Finally – the Community Land Act, and the Amended Land Act are among the most important tools we have to address land tenure security.

……..If anyone would like a copy of the mentioned LFA report please use the contact form or comment leaving your email.   Thanks Maria 

Articles 23rd March 

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001233688/kamama-bows-to-pressure-says-he-ll-quit-security-committee

http://www.voanews.com/a/drought-political-maneuvering-blamed-central-kenya-unrest/3777654.html

http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/Laikipia-crisis-result-of-political–social-economic-challenges/440808-3860326-89de8lz/index.html

http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/03/23/cut-off-supply-of-bullets-and-then-disarm-communities_c1530124

Day 73-of chaos, violence, mayhem, shooting etc or day 195 – Wednesday 22nd

Another long and busy day – no Police supported boundary patrols as many of the officers go off to help support the joint Police /KDF operation each day. 

The foot patrols continue, with only 4 breaks in the boundary wall and the only stock seen belonging  to the community on our western boundary who we have allowed access to water. 

Wall reinforcing still ongoing in the same ‘hot spots’ where day after day the wall has been repeatedly broken. Its amazing that we still have rock to build these dry stonewalls with the 10’s of kilometres already standing started back in the 50’s by my grandfather. 

Another meeting was held with area Chief, Asst Chief and community elders on the Lorien and Karuwao boundary and we are hopeful that we are back to a more solid relationship between Kifuku and its neighboring community’s. We are hopeful too, that the current destruction of Olive trees for firewood sold into Rumuruti will be stopped and if unsuccessful those responsible will be caught and arrested.  

In a small way another milestone was reached, the small herd of stud cattle that were being looked after on Sosian when we were in our darkest days have come home. There is very little grass here but will be fed hay along with the dairy herd and it is a relief  to have them out of the ‘heat’. Huge thanks to the team on Sosian for looking after them so well. 

I recently had to add up all our livestock losses through theft over the last 6 months. I have always told the reporters when asked that I didn’t know the total number in my head as it was too depressing to add up but each and every time we recovered some it was a victory. Well the ugly truth is that since we were first invaded in late August / early September 2016  we have had a total of 155 head stolen or shot dead – luckily we managed to recover 58 head leaving outstanding 97 !!! A huge loss financially but also genetically as the Kifuku Boran Herd is known to be unique after careful selection over 3 generations of management.

Things have been extremely tough across Laikipia for everyone, from us labeled ‘white ranchers’ to the small holders farmers. We are hopeful, with the current ongoing operation that law and order will be restored in Laikipia and we can get back to normality- it can never be the same and we will have to get used to a new version- we hope and pray it improves from the current ‘normal’.