Only through encouraging co-existence will Nandi County be peaceful

Nandi County Commissioner Matilda Sakwa. She says gender based violence, cattle rustling and inter-community clashes are at times witnessed in the county because perpetrators thrive on ignorance. [Photo: Courtesy West FM]
Nandi County Commissioner Matilda Sakwa. She says gender based violence, cattle rustling and inter-community clashes are at times witnessed in the county because perpetrators thrive on ignorance. [Photo: Courtesy West FM]

Nandi is one of the counties with the highest ethnic mix in the country. The county has an approximate population of three million people who depend on the little resources available.

Because of the high population and ethnic mix, there is clashing of cultures and traditions among the different people and a rise in suspicion among people competing for resources.

It is this cultural mix that has exposed young people to varying cultures leading to moral decadence emanating from lack proper structures moulding them.

The absence of structures in moulding the youth has resulted in deviation of ethics which has in turn destroyed the entire social fabric.

Lack of necessary guidance has resulted in serious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms and has also undermined the constitutional requisite of inherent dignity of an individual which should be respected and protected.

The county was badly affected by the 2007 post-election violence that gripped the country immediately the results of that year’s elections were announced.

Hundreds of people were displaced, houses burnt and transport paralysed leading to big stalemate.

County Commissioner Matilda Sakwa who is the county security chairperson says Gender Based Violence, cattle rustling and inter-community clashes are at times witnessed in the county because perpetrators thrive on ignorance.

“Most people who engage particularly in cattle rustling and ethnic clashes lack education, are ignorant of the laws and are only competing for resources,” says Sakwa.

She observes that to minimize or eradicate the vices, people should be encouraged to go to school, and politicians should stop making inflammatory remarks against other communities.

Facilities

The county has in the past experienced clashes and cattle rustling incidents along its borders with Kisumu, Kakamega and Vihiga which saw many people lose their lives and many more others critically injured.

Sakwa notes: “The Government should try to establish common social facilities like schools, hospitals, markets or organize inter-communal sports along the volatile borders to foster peace.

Sakwa says they have been holding frequent meetings with security teams from neighbouring counties with a view of encouraging people to live in harmony.

The county security team lauds the Government for banning second generation alcohol; a move that has had a pleasant effect on domestic violence and cross gender aggression.

“In times of instability, women and children suffer most,” says Sakwa adding that “the ban on bad brews should continue until they attain considerable positive change in families”.

“The county security committee occasionally meets with teams from neighbouring counties and we have established fully fledged police stations on volatile borders with neighbours besides holding frequent local barazas,” says Sakwa.

She adds: “Through the committees we have achieved a lot, although a lot more needed to be done in telling people to co-exist peacefully.”

Besides the security meetings; the county has an elaborate peace committee which spearheads matters of peaceful co-existence and harmony.

The committee is made of church leaders, counsellors and respected elders. This has been devolved to the sub-counties.

Role

The Nandi Council of Elders also plays an integral part in maintaining peace and security.

Josphat Sirma, who is in charge of research programmes says: “The elders have a significant task in maintaining peace by uniting people since the days of post-election violence.”

Says Sirma: “To avoid clashes and cattle rustling people should be educated on the benefits of co-existing and leaders should weigh public utterances to avoid making tribal slurs.”

Sirma who is also the Kenya Red Cross agent in Nandi County observes that “cattle rustling and political differences if unchecked could plunge the country into irredeemable state”.

“People normally turn against their neighbours due to lack of trust and spiralling political temperatures at the national scene,” explains Sirma.

He calls for county boundaries to be properly demarcated. “Expired land leases should be well addressed and people empowered to distract them from turning against their neighbours,” reiterates Sirma.

He advises that elders should be given a role to educate young people on good moral values so as to become upright and dependable people.

“If the youth are straightened at an early age, issues of domestic violence and cross border conflicts will be eradicated,” notes Sirma.

He regretted that in today’s community; fathers were sexually turning against their daughters adding that such things never happened in the days gone by.

The Nandi Council of Elders believes that to tame terrorism, collective efforts are needed. “Gathering of intelligence reports should be enhanced and proper analysis of the information done.”