The tragic results of failed conquest of Laikipia should be blamed on those politicians who set pastoralists to the task, and under cover, organised militias to terrorise community small holders and commercial ranch employees -Richard Constant 

Cattle are beginning to die in Laikipia. Blame the politicians who called for the Pokot and Samburu invasion.  
The Kenyan Government knows who the inciters are. Some arrests have been made. It’s a start.

Pastoralists urged to stay by their leaders have resisted the forces of law and order. Apparently shooting at the police from inside their herds. Their cattle caught the bullets. Not surprising. But avoidable. They should not have been there in the first place.  

Those same politicians should have called on the Government to buy in cattle for slaughter before the drought began in earnest. But they didn’t. 

In support of their own political ambitions they promised new ‘conquered’ lands as a reward of invasion.  

The Government has belatedly stated the rule of law must be observed. Property will be respected. Kenya will remain in the community of nations. Fine words. But fatal to the invasion plans. Land Leases are secure. The constitution will be preserved. 

Yes, the invaders’ cattle are beginning to die. Feel sorry for the animals. But not their owners.

Hundreds of cattle, soon thousands will die on the move or where they stand. They were already poor cattle, walked too far, in the invasion manoeuvres, to an area far too small to support the vast herds for more than a couple of months.  

As the invading cattle die, the inciting politicians will try to blame the police and army for shooting cattle deliberately.  

They will blame the legitimate owners of the land for the problem ignoring the fact that land use and stocking rights are what matters.  

The inciters and invaders have ruined the lives and future of the legitimate owners of community cattle who had legitimate grazing rights with their neighbouring commercial ranches.

 No one can recount the terrible experience of the thousands of smallholders who have lost everything as the invaders looted their homes and stole the few cattle and shoats they owned. 

‘But every village knows it’s idiot as the country expression goes’.

The people will figure out who is to blame. The inciters.

 There is no legitimate ancestral rights case here as any student of Laikipian history knows. 

The Government should throw the ringleaders in gaol and throw the keys away after they are found guilty. For they are responsible for murder, rape, theft, on a huge scale.

As to the future, the Government must, with all the expertise from within in and without the country, embark on mutually supporting programs to avoid this again.

These would include: rangeland restoration in the North; rangeland management to make the restoration sustainable; the restoration of cattle regulations and veterinary management accompanied by effective education and health programs; fair registration of land not already under lease; effective grazing agreements organised and policed throughout the effected counties of Laikipia, Baringo, Samburu and Isiolo; and finally an effective cattle purchasing organisation buying in stock on a massive scale to turn livestock owners into livestock managers. A daunting list. But not impossible. We need a win/win outcome.

Above all, disarmament of illegal weapons on a massive scale.

 Leadership and vision are required. 

 The alternative is the kind of hell the people in Laikipia and surrounding counties are suffering right now.

 

Richard Constant

Chief Operating Officer

http://www.living-planit.com

+44 7775 518 586

2 thoughts on “The tragic results of failed conquest of Laikipia should be blamed on those politicians who set pastoralists to the task, and under cover, organised militias to terrorise community small holders and commercial ranch employees -Richard Constant 

  1. With regard to the statement near the end of this excellent piece it states that amongst other things that there is a requirement for:

    “an effective cattle purchasing organisation buying in stock on a massive scale to turn livestock owners into livestock managers”

    In 1974 I arrived in Kenya with Voluntary Service Overseas [VSO], & together with a colleague we were assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock Marketing Division [LMD] base in Isiolo. Our remit was to train mechanics & manage the local workshop to ensure the availability of the considerable number of vehicles & equipment located on the holding grounds situated between Isiolo, Ngarendare, Kipsing & Longopito. In addition there were LMD officers & local buying centres/equipment at Marsabit, Garissa, & Wajir & elsewhere This project was heavily supported by the UK ODA [Overseas Development Administration] both in terms of expatriates [many experienced cattlemen in EA for many years such as Peter Dorey] & funding. A fleet of 5 Leyland Super Hippos [dated but rugged vehicles] & 10 Leyland Clydesdales with 2 & 1 York livestock trailers respectively plus the full range of support vehicles, spray race pumps & generators, boreholes, housing for staff etc. etc. The whole objective of this project was exactly as stated above:

    “an effective cattle purchasing organisation buying in stock on a massive scale to turn livestock owners into livestock managers”

    The Transport fleet was intended to move cattle from seasonal but remote grazing areas in the NFD after purchase & veterinary controls by LMD agents & ultimate resale further south or processing at KMC Athi River.

    I was based in Isiolo up to the end of 1979 & the utilisation of the fleet for the above purpose during these five years was in fact negligible.

    I see from Google Earth that the whole LMD complex a few km. west of Isiolo now appears to have been abandoned & roadways used some 35 – 40 years ago are now barely visible which suggests that LMD did not continue in operation from the mid 1980’s

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  2. Well said. When I wrote to KATO in early Feb with a copy to Richard Leakey, complaining the situation in Laikipia was unacceptable and law and order had to be restored without delay and a statement was expected from KWS, he replied the invasions would be over once the rains came and the elections behind us. He intimated I was being hysterical. He obviously miscalculated the severity of this anarchy. Tony Church

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