Chaos in Kajiado as livestock farmers clash over pasture

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 2 Sep, 2021 12:27 | 2 mins read
Cattle from Kajiado County graze on the Ukunda-Lungalunga road near Tanzania: PHOTO/COURTESY

A standoff between livestock farmers and camel farmers over pasture has ensued at Kajiado Central sub County as farmers fight over diminishing pasture and water as drought looms in the area.

Agitated herders from Luuwaje village, Kajiado Central, yesterday held a peaceful protest, claiming the high number of camels in the area are spreading diseases to their livestock.

The herders also claim the camel’s urine is affecting the diminishing folder, leaving very little for their emaciated livestock, leading to losses and low prices in the market.

They have vowed to kick out all camels in the region, saying there has been a high increase of the animals in the region in the past few months.

The local herdsmen also issued a seven days ultimatum for the camel owners to relocate, the ultimatum creating panic and fear among camel owners.

”We shall no longer tolerate immigrants who relocate to our land and domesticate large herds of camels. This has led to the camels destroying our pasture at an alarming rate,’’ a distressed herder said.

‘’We want them to instead keep cattle and not camels, given that camels are also spreading diseases to our animals and our plan and wish is that we all happen to keep livestock,” Jane Mesianto said.

In 2016 similar incidents engineered by local women occurred, destabilising peace and inter community co-existence in the area.

It is alleged the large number of camels are owned by non-natives, with some roaming in communal lands while some are confined in private land.

However, some camel farmers claim the locals are being incited by local politicians for self-gains, including monetary kickbacks.

According to a village elder Ahmed Issa any individual should be allowed to coexist peaceful and engage in a business of his preference without being victimised.

”We are in a democratic country where an individual is free to engage in business of their own preference and freely live in any part of the country without interference,’’ Issa said.

‘’Why are our counterparts forcing us to keep livestock at the expense of camels, which has been our only source of livelihood? Harassing us is barbaric,” Issa added.

They are now calling on security agencies to intervene and find a truce.

Oloilelai Sub County deputy County Commissioner Justin Maina has cautioned local leaders against inciting members of the public.

”Nobody has a right to interfere with other people’s property. My security committee will address the issue in earnest before it gets out of hand,” Maina said.

Maina further said a meeting between the warring parties will be held in a week’s time to find an amicable solution.