Warring communities in the Isiolo and Samburu counties in Northern Kenya have vowed to end their persistent conflict. The conflict has been ongoing for half a year, during which at least 50 people have died and others injured within the intercommunity clashes.
Both the Samburu and Turkana communities signed a memorandum that will keep them from engaging in cattle rustling and retaliatory attacks. Political leaders, elders and moran warriors made resolutions that will further reconciliation in the wake of recent killings.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) in conjunction with the Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT) and Finn Church Aid (FCA)- Regal-IR held a two day peace forum to achieve reconciliation between the two communities.
FCA has been actively working to settle this conflict.
“We started with a joint meeting of Samburu and Turkana leaders at Lewa Downs. The leaders present in the meeting were Deputy Governors from both Samburu and Isiolo counties, Isiolo North MP, Samburu East MP, Isiolo Senator, Samburu Senator, Nominated Senator Naisula Leisuda, 5 MCAs representing conflict hot spots from each county, Isiolo County Commissioner, Samburu County Commissioner and opinion leaders from both warring communities”, FCA`s field officer Umuro Sora says.
NCIC Chairman Francis Ole Kaparo chaired the meeting where the leaders were given the opportunity to share their opinions and suggestions on the current conflicts.
“All participants agreed that political leaders have the mandate to unite people since these are their electorates. NCIC chairman Kaparo said that pastoralist communities should not support leaders who incite them to fight. Proliferation of small arms and light weapons did not go unnoticed as a trigger to this conflict”, Umuro Sora describes the negotiations.
The County Governors who attended the meeting spoke with authority saying that the communities will now feel the presence of government. The leaders also came up with resolutions in this meeting. Ngare-Mara and Archers Post were identified as current hotspots, and the leaders agreed to visit them together in order to read out the resolutions to the community members and sign the treaty before them. This will be a sign of unity and of speaking with one voice before their community.
“This kind of a meeting was one of a kind in Isiolo, and the communities have vowed to stop fighting”, Umuro Sora says proudly.
Text: Hilkka Hyrkkö
Photo: Umuro Sora
Finn Church Aid (FCA) is implementing the peace component of a larger programme “Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands – Improving Resilience” (REGAL-IR) by a consortium led by Adeso and funded by USAID. In addition, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland is supporting the peacework of FCA’s Kenya programme.