Protect Us From The Notoriety of The Bandits

Press Statement

Preamble

The NCCK Samburu County Committee has met here at the ACK All Saints Pro-Cathedral, Maralal for ecumenical fellowship and a reflection on issues affecting all of us. Further, we have taken time to pray for the restoration of peace and security in Samburu. We urge all Kenyans to continue being hopeful and trusting God for He is with us amidst all the challenging times we are facing. Take heart from Psalms 23:1-3a

“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.”

From our consultations and deliberations, we wish to share the following message;

A. Protect Samburu residents from further banditry attacks and resource conflicts

Over the last decade, Samburu County has continued to manifest unabated intercommunal conflicts majorly attributed to many factors. These include the availability and misuse of small arms, inaccessible county terrain, ungoverned spaces, struggle for available scarce natural resources, intercommunal raiding, revenge, and retaliatory attacks, harsh climatic conditions, and political incitements due to narrow political interests, inequitable distribution of resources, criminal elements among others. The persistent conflicts have been detrimental to the local economy and polarized intercommunal relations.

Interventions to deal with the conflict, including the deployment of security forces, have remained limited because they have largely been reactive and do not often address the root causes of the conflict. These root causes are related to the structural conditions of underdevelopment and broken inter-relationships within and outside the County borders.

The most affected areas by the banditry are; In Samburu North Sub-county (Baragoi, Marti, and Morijo), in Samburu West Sub-county (Loosuk ward, Porro Ward, Pura Location, and some parts of Suguta ward e.g. Logorte location), and Samburu East sub-county (all areas bordering the Borana community)
To remedy the situation, we call for the following;

  1. The security agencies in Samburu County and neighboring counties be regularly restructured so that all citizens are treated fairly and equitably.
  2. Protect the vulnerable community groups; women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, who continue to face challenges and are forced to migrate to urban areas due to insecurity and other risks such as GBV, food insecurity, and economic survival.
  3. We recommend that state agencies such as the NCIC in partnership with religious institutions and goodwill stakeholders initiate and drive intra and inter-ethnic interventions to bring the cycles of cattle rustling, violence, and hatred to an end. The government should also prevent potential triggers for increased conflicts in the county such as lack of public trust in the security organs and lack of clear boundaries.
  4. A multi-prong approach to strengthen the resilience of communities against the harsh effects of climate change. It is observed that conflicts emanating from banditry cases increase during drought periods as banditry is employed as a means to restock depleted livestock. Capacity building of the local communities’ ability to embrace livelihood diversification will go a long way to strengthening their resilience leading to stable communities.
  5. We call upon the County Governments of Samburu, Baringo, Turkana, and West Pokot to embrace and implement projects based on the development-security nexus. As the former UN Secretary Kofi Anan stated “We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development” The 3 county governments must ensure inclusive development as an integral part of the region’s security strategy.
  6. We also urge our politicians to desist from narrow political interests to seek and solidify their political bases. We urge politicians to desist from any form of mobilization of their community and acting as community ‘saviours’ in times of crisis.
  7. The government should reinforce its directives such as mandatory education for all school-aged children particularly targeting the young men (Morans) Households in the interior areas of the county. We believe education transforms a society. The Samburu church pledges to do missions and evangelism as well as church planting in conflict-prone areas with the support of the government.

B. Accelerate service delivery and development in Samburu County

In the Auditor General Report released early this year, Samburu County Government was rated poorly as one of the counties with a low proportion of development expenditure. After 10 years of devolution, Samburu County lags in critical infrastructure development. This is characterized by a poor road network, public health concerns in Maralal town, lack of recreation and social facilities, and poor drainage systems among others. We challenge Samburu County on the following;

i. Prioritize and increase development expenditure targeting all sectors in the county.

  1. Enhance accountability and transparency in all County operations and utilization of the county budget. This can be achieved through improved oversight by the Senator and County Assembly particularly on county budget utilization.
  2. Conduct intensive and continuous mass education on governance processes. The low levels of Education in the county are a major hindrance to adequate participation of the uneducated electorate in the county.

C. Address the Medics Strike and Refusal of Use of NHIF in Private Hospitals

If the government for real is for the ‘poor hustlers’ then it must resolve the national medic’s strike and NHIF stand-offs that have paralyzed health services. We remind the government that The right to health is a fundamental human right guaranteed in the Constitution of Kenya, Article 43 (1) (a) which provides that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health. The ongoing doctor’s strike and the NHIF issue should be resolved to alleviate the suffering of the poor Kenyans who heavily rely on public health facilities to receive health services. Noting the implementation of SHIF has been marred by confusion, controversy, and opposition, we highly urge that the transition from NHIF to SHIF be expedited with no further delays.

D. Promote Citizen Engagement in the NADCO Proposals and Bills

The Church leaders here have keenly followed the NADCO discourse in the country. We appreciate the efforts of the political class to resolve both political, legal, and socio-economic issues in the country as proposed in the NADCO Report. However, we urge that the NADCO proposals must be transparent and honest, and embrace intentionality to let Kenyans be informed and participate in the process. We urge the politicians not to force their way on us as recently witnessed in the signing of other bills into law. We strongly advocate for public consultation for inclusivity and sustainability in dealing with the country’s issues.

In conclusion

The Church in Samburu believes that attaining lasting peace in Samburu County is the collective duty of the state and the citizens at large. We request the goodwill of the government and all stakeholders to promote effective collaboration in developing practical community-driven solutions that address the root causes of conflicts, community needs, and grievances. We urge the Samburu community and our neighbors the Pokot, Borana, and Turkana communities to desist from further attacks and retaliations and give dialogue a chance in order to resolve conflict issues.

Signed on this day, 22nd March 2024 here at the All Saints ACK Pro-Cathedral, Maralal by:
Bishop Joram Kiarie
NCCK Samburu County Coordinating Committee Chairman

June 2024
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