As the country marked International Widows Day, widows in Baringo have decried banditry which they say has been a major factor in making them detestable.
The event was celebrated in Marigat, Baringo South, and was officiated by the CEC for Gender and Social Services Maureen Lemashep, present also was Peter Muthengi of GROOTS, a Non-Governmental Organisation, and over 100 widows attend the event.
Women and children are the most affected whenever there are insecurity problems, for many women around the world, the devastating loss of a partner is magnified by a long-term fight for their basic rights and dignity in society.
Many widows in the county are as a result of armed conflicts, losing spouses to banditry in Tiaty, Baringo North and South, where cattle rustling has hit hard in the decades.
Margret Lekoroito shared her horrible incident which took place in the year 2005 in Mukutani ward of Baringo South, where her husband was shot dead by suspected Pokot cattle rustlers before all of their livestock were driven away.
Lekoroito a mother of 8, explained with grief how she felt alone bearing the burden of the family, where she has to struggle so hard to fend and be able to cater for her family.
She says life for her has never been the same again, after the burial, she was forced to flee and seek refuge in much safer grounds.
"I was forced to flee with my 8 children to look for safer grounds as our village was being raided rampantly, I moved with my kids to Marigat where we had to start it all from scratch," she said amid tears.
The over 40km trek journey she said took them some time, but again had no option left. The sun was scorching and she had to walk with her children in the same place to avoid leaving one behind.
Upon arrival at Marigat, was forced to take a house for rent, the little money she had, Lekoroito said was enough to have them a roof under their heads.
She explains how she left behind everything including all she had gained since she got married including their land with crops which they had given it all before insecurities wreaked havoc in their village.
As if that was not enough, she sorrowfully recalls the day she got to know that one of her sons was diabetic and required medical attention.
"I went to the hospital with my son and upon diagnosis, he was found to be diabetic, that's when I felt like my life had come to an end, he was partially blind by then and so he depended on me entirely, I was also required to be taking him for dialysis every Monday and Friday with every visit accumulating to Ksh9,000, " Lekoroito narrated while sobbing.
Life took a different twist since that day, Lekoroito says she could not manage to keep her other children in school as she had to attend to the ailing son so they ended up dropping out of school and others were married off to lift her the burden.
She curses banditry saying that if only people knew the pain of widows, the rustlers would have resolved their differences peacefully without taking lives.
"I have never known peace for the past 2 decades, my hopes are shuttered, I now depend on well-wishers for food and medication, as the world celebrates international widows day, I see nothing to be celebrated, I hope someone will be touched and lift this burden off my shoulders," she said.
She is for the opinion of the government to consider compensating the families of those who have been killed because of cattle rustling incidents so that such families can be able to provide education and food among other basic needs to their children.
Lekoroito added that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure all Kenyans are protected as enshrined in the Constitution.
The CEC said that the celebration should concentrate on some of the issues affecting widows around the world and what must be done to safeguard and advance their rights.
Lemashep noted with concern that they are working with partners including the National Government to end insecurity in the region and restore dignity to women.
She condemned banditry saying that it was time to stop hurting each other as a result of such fights, it is better to come up with a long-lasting solution to the menace which has crippled everything in the lower region of the county.
"Programmes and policies for ending violence against widows and their children, poverty alleviation, education and other support to widows of all ages also need to be undertaken, including in the context of action plans to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals," she noted.
The CEC pledged to see to it that the government and other partners in a way compensate the widows, she also urged the women to be ambassadors of peace.
Muthengi noted that empowering widows to support themselves and their families also means addressing social stigmas that create exclusion, and discriminatory or harmful practices among the women affected.