By John Kariuki
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Gubernatorial flagbearer for Elgeyo Marakwet county Wesley Rotich has faulted the Government’s lacklustre approach in tackling the perennial conflicts and banditry in the Kerio Valley.
Mr. Rotich is an economist by profession.
Speaking Exclusively to The Times, Wesley lamented the rampant loss of life in a region that has never known peace since time immemorial.
“it’s a pity that we have lost 112 people to banditry attacks in the last eight months in Elgeyo Marakwet alone. Consequently, the schools have closed, the people are suffering especially women and children. There’s something we are not understanding. Why us it that with just one death reported in Laikipia, the government immediately responded with heavy deployment of security apparatus, while in Kerio Valley, despite more than 200 people having died this year alone; the government is yet to show it’s commitment in response to the attacks?”
Rotich faults the weak approach the government is applying to tackle that armed bandits. He says even after highlighting the issue to the minister of interior, they are turned back and told to “go and talk to your people” How do you go to talk to an armed bandit? He quipped.
To authenticate his case, The incoming Governor of Elgeyo Marakwet who is undoubtedly the People’s choice wonders why the Government is unable to address runaway insecurity in Kerio Valley and yet it was able to exterminate dangerous criminals under proscribed groups such as the Alshabab, The Mungiki, The Mombasa Republican Council and many others.
Rotich says that once given the mandate by the people of Elgeyo Marakwet in August, we will apply a very different approach to quell the skirmishes and curb further loss of life and property.
“Dialogue is key. I will be the patron of all the leaders in the neighbouring counties especially Tiaty where the bandits have made a haven.
We shall all advocate for the opening up of Tiaty and Marshall plan for entire Kerio Valley to change it from Valley of death to Valley of opportunity.”
I will bring them to the table so that we can chart the way forward on the best approach to solve the perennial problems of insecurity. I will also work closely with the National Government under whose mandate security falls.”
I will also spearhead peace and conflict resolution in a bid to find sustainable solutions. Let’s involve the warriors and understand from their perspective so that they can tell us what is really happening.
As a last resort, Rotich says he will deploy drones to flush out the bandits who are holes up in the unforgiving terrain.
“Drones are the best suited apparatus to patrol the area and they will work to thwart attacks before they take place. This proactive approach will safeguard lives and property. I will also prioritize the development of Tiaty because the government has neglected it since independence.”
The outspoken Rotich says that “If government will allow us to have NPR I will chip in from the county to help them conduct their duties seamlessly. To start with, I will engage about 200. These works well because they understand the mentality of a bandit and through their cooperation we can thwart attacks.”
Peace tournaments will also be pivotal in addressing the issue of insecurity through sports. “I will look for partners so that we can have peace ambassadors through sports. These people will be meeting quite often and they start interacting and recruit others.”
On 200 NPR “If govt will allow us to have NPR I will chip in from the county to help them conduct their duties seamlessly “
I will establish a peace and conflict resolution department to coordinate all partners and intercommunity interactions as a way of building lasting peace in the region