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.
Chief Operating Officer
+44 7775 518 586