Illegal herders who forced their way into Laikipia County pastures have been given a seven days ultimatum to leave.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i warned that the government will forcefully evict the invaders blamed for violent conflicts with private ranchers at the lapse of window.
“If you are here in Laikipia illegally, leave voluntarily, failing which the government will do what it is supposed to do. Do not expect us to come to hug and kiss you,” Matiang’i said.
He noted that the government will not be intimidated by human rights activists while carrying out the operation, saying thugs have been destroying other people’s property.
Matiang’i said they shall instal three security units, including that of Kenya Defence Forces, in the area because it has become a playground for the criminals.
“We shall start operating from there so that those who would want to dare us can meet us there,” he said.
He announced that the government will take over the 80,000 acres in the Kirimon area at the Laikipia-Samburu border.
A special unit of police officers will also be built to serve as a buffer zone.
“For purposes of security reasons, we would want to have a record of who is where and the number of animals they have,” the CS said.
He said that would help control infiltration and interference by criminals who come in with livestock and steal others while leaving.
He blamed politics of balkanisation in Laikipia North which led to surging cases of insecurity.
“Some politicians are known and will be arrested soon and prosecuted in a court of law, he said, warning them against importing voters from other regions,” he said.
He added that the government will not allow gangs to intimidate people so that a certain politician can rise to power.
80 per cent of problems in the area, according to Laikipia North Member of Parliament Sarah Lekorere, were caused by bad politics, while 20 per cent was occasioned by drought.
She accused politicians of fuelling the animosity and inciting people to invade private ranches.
Governor Ndiritu Muriithi called for a proper mechanism of making pasture available through feedlots during the dry period.
“We usually know the seasons when the drought hits us and we should be fully prepared. Again, we should adopt that formula of livestock offtake where we sell them during the dry period and restock them when the weather improves,” Muriithi said.