Kenya: Matiangi Orders Illegal Herders Out of Laikipia Ranches

Laikipia — Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has given hundreds of herders from Isiolo, Samburu and Baringo who have invaded private ranches in Laikipia County seven days to vacate or face forceful expulsion by security services.

Matiangi said security agencies will take over an 80,000km² farm where they assemble before invading private farms.

He said the area will act as a buffer zone to wade off any invasion by the herders who were singled out as the source of insecurity.

Speaking when he held meeting with leaders from Laikipia County at Naibor on Wednesday Matiangi said it's imperative for the headers to leave to ensure security is restored.

"I want to say that as a government I have today given these headers seven days to move out of this county failure to which we will move in and flush them out. No one is allowed to invade private land by force," said Matiangi.

During the meeting attended by Laikipia Governor Nderitu Mureithi and Laikipia North MP Sarah Lekolel, residents of Laikipia - mainly ranchers - said the headers had taken over their farms and were the major cause of insecurity which has led to loss of lives and property.

"We as Laikipia ranchers are suffering these people have invaded our farms and have been killing some of us and stealing our livestock at will ,although they are in search of pastures due to drought in their counties they are a security nuisance," a rancher said.

They said for security to be restored the herders must move from their farms and relocate elsewhere or buy pastures from them.

When he rose to speak Matiangi said that although the government sympathizes with the herders they must respect property right adding that the government was in the process of buying their animals to ease their pressure on pastures.

"We as government will embark on an offtake programme where we will buy animals from these herders through Kenya Meat Commission. This will ease pressure but they must leave," said Matiangi .

He said that if the invading herders do not heed his call, security officers will conduct a sting operation which will not spare anyone.

Matiangi however accused politicians of funning clashes between communities in a bid to capture political seats in the 2022 General Election.

"As we approach elections I know that some politicians are fanning clashes I have directed police to arrest them and prosecute them. I have further directed Regional Commissioner George Natembeya to convene a meeting in two weeks time," said Matiangi.

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