Elders from Kajiado County have handed over 59 goats and two cows that were stolen a month ago from Ndeiya in Kiambu County as a show of peace and reconciliation between the two neighboring communities.
The elders said the animals which were returned had been contributed by the community to end tension and clashes which had rocked the area in the recent past.
Tension had escalated at the border in the recent weeks after the livestock were stolen from Ndeiya border resulting in clashes that left one person dead and 15 others seriously wounded.
Kajiado County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha said 54 goats and two cows were stolen from Kiambu by armed youth last month and in retaliation 19 cows were stolen from Kajiado resulting in the clashes.
The CC while handing over the livestock to Kiambu elders at Kisamis on Monday, said elders from both sides had resolved to return the stolen livestock in a peace deal signed at Bomas of Kenya on August 11, 2020.
“We are here to hand over 59 goats and 2 cows that were stolen from Kiambu. Elders from Kajiado agreed to return the stolen animals to ensure that peace reigns between the two communities,” said Nkanatha.
The peace deal was brokered by Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya, Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku, his Kiambu counterpart James Nyoro and top security officials ending weeks of tension between the Maaasai and Kikuyu communities.
Nkanatha said security officials were still in pursuit of the cattle rustlers and they were following crucial leads which would lead to their arrest and recovery of the stolen animals.
He praised the elders for agreeing to work together to end the conflict and urged the two communities to report any missing animals immediately to the authorities and avoid taking the law into their own hands through retaliatory attacks.
The CC further warned criminals hiding in the community that they would be apprehended, and called on members of the public to report those involved in cattle rustling.
Kikuyu Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner Thomas Machereni reiterated Nkanatha’s remarks, adding that the government will not allow criminals to take charge and those who stole the livestock will still be pursued.
“We have the law, we will not allow this kind of barter trade again, even after this reconciliation we will still pursue the criminals who stole the livestock and apprehend them,” said Machereni.
Machereni said the 19 cows stolen from Kajiado County would also be returned by elders from Kiambu County as a sign of reconciliation and peace between the two communities.
Elders from both sides said it was unfortunate that the livestock theft had resulted in ethnic animosity and clashes as the two communities have lived in harmony for decades.
The elders said they signed a peace agreement in 1942 stating that the two communities would dialogue before taking arms against each other and they would ensure that this peace pact maintained.
James Gichuru, an elder from Kiambu said he was happy that his 23 goats which had been stolen in February this year had been returned.
Gichuru said the two communities have lived together in peace for years and their children have even inter-married, thus they should embrace each other and weed out criminals among them threatening peaceful co-existence.
Edward Ndung’u urged the government to set up an Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) in the affected areas to reinforce the police in tracking stolen animals and restoring normalcy.
He urged chiefs to work with elders in sorting out inter-community disputes to prevent violence, destruction of property and deaths.
By Rop Janet