A Red Cross helicopter in an operation in a disaster area.
BY KENNETH OGOSIA
Kisumu County Government officials should stop flying in choppers around the area where tribal conflict is on going along the Kisumu-Nandi border and should instead supply food and medical equipments to the people, Nyando MP Fred Outa has said.
Mr Outa said a catastrophe is waiting to happen at the camps in Muhoroni where people escaping violence in Songhor along the Kisumu-Nandi border due to hunge, disease and poor sanitation.
Mr Outa claimed Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma was merely visiting the area in hired helicopters instead of using such resources to save the clashes victims from starvation and disease.
Addressing the media Mr Outa who flatly dismissed Mr Ranguma’s scorecard as Governor said millions of shillings were being wasted on non essential engagements and national government projects like Huduma Centre yet voters were left to live in squalor.
He said the conflict at the border was being fuelled by powerful people whose interest is to move the boundary further into Nyanza so as to grab the peoples land.
The MP who has declared his interest for the position of Senator said security installations and police stations should be spread across the disputed areas to act as a buffer zone.
Cattle rustling, land grabbing and bad politics are the root causes of conflicts between communities at the Nandi-Kisumu border, area leaders have said.
At a peace meeting at Songhor in Muhoroni Kisumu Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth and his Eldoret Diocese counterpart Cornelius Korir said there was urgent need to stop the skirmishes to end deaths and loss of property.
Archbishop Okoth, who is also chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, told the government to exercise its mandate and protect the lives and property of citizens by enforcing law and order at the border.
“We want peace, love and sanity to prevail among the two communities. For that to be achieved, the government must act conclusively and within the law without favouring anybody,” Archbishop Okoth said.
Archbishop Okoth asked the two communities to expose the names of those involved in animal theft so that security agencies can arrest and prosecute them.
Bishop Korir also appealed for peaceful coexistence between communities living along the border.
“We should not disrupt the harmony we have enjoyed for a long period of time. It is quite unfortunate that lives have been lost in the clashes,” he said.
The bishop termed cattle-rustling a backward practice that citizens should desist from, and challenged leaders to find long-lasting solutions, instead of making remarks that only fuel chaos between the communities.
The meeting was also attended by Kisumu county commissioner John Elungata and his security team, but the security team from Nandi was absent.
Mr Elungata said the government has set up a police post at Songhor and deployed anti-stock theft police officers as some of the quick measures to contain further fights.
He blamed locals for enabling rustling by hiding and protecting thieves, making it difficult for police to apprehend the suspects.
The commissioner ordered chiefs to profile cattle-rustlers in their areas for action from the law enforcers.
Mr Elungata also warned politicians against remarks likely to cause conflict, saying they risk being arrested.
Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, MPs Onyango Koyoo (Muhoroni) and Fred Outa (Nyando) have accused the government of laxity to stop the skirmishes
They said recent animal theft, which sparked the clashes, was the third incident in less than three years yet no action has been taken by the government.
Mr Koyoo said that for the sake of peace, those who have encroached on lands in Muhoroni, Kisumu County must be evicted.
“We are a peace loving community and we are calling on the government to act swiftly before the situation gets out of hand,” Governor Ranguma said when he visited Songhor last Friday.