News 2005

 

SENGWER MEMORANDUM TO PRESIDENT KIBAKI

THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD IMMEDIATELY BRING TO AN END
POKOT TERRITORIAL EXPANSION THROUGH CATTLE RUSTLING
IN THE NORTH RIFT VALLEY

 

Memorandum from

Sengwer Ethnic Minority Hunter-Gatherer

Indigenous Peoples

P.O. Box 3894 , Kitale 30200

Email: sengwer.idp@multitechweb.com

presented to

 

His Excellency Honourable Mwai Kibaki, M.P. CGH

President of the Republic of Kenya

on

7th April 2005

 

Your Excellency Sir,

Ref: CALL FOR YOUR URGENT ACTION TO BRING AN END ‘TERRITORIAL EXPANSION OF POKOT TRIBE THROUGH CATTLE RUSTLING’

Your Excellency Sir, we the undersigned below members, elders and leaders of Sengwer (Cherangany) an ethnic minority hunter-gatherer indigenous peoples kindly request for humane intervention to bring to end, urgently, territorial expansion of Pokot tribe through cattle rustling.

Introduction

Sengwer is an ethnic minority hunter-gatherer indigenous peoples characterized by marginalization, oppression, powerlessness, mal-representation, unrecognition, landlessness, poverty, torture, oppression, unemployment and discrimination. We are hunter-gatherers, beekeepers and forest peoples.

Cattle Rustling

Sengwer indigenous community has been and continues to be a victim of cattle rustling. The rustlers are and continue to be an organized group of Pokot community.

A large of number of cattle have been lost and some community members killed – while others are injured and have since become people with disability. In this month alone over 5 Sengwer families in Talau location have lost more than 30 cattle. Cattle rustling is turning to a daily activity in Talau area with very little support from security personnel. School children, farmers and elders from the community (with machetes, arrows and clubs) have been forced to pursue Pokot rustlers armed with AK47 Rifles and other sophisticated weapons with very little support from police officers.

On 5th April 2005 at around 4.3 p.m. armed Pokot rustlers (estimated to be over 50) invaded Kapolet forest with whistles and gunshots chasing old and young like children. It was a day to be remembered. They strike Kapolet and stole cattle from over ten Sengwer families. The rustlers overpowered three administrative police officers based in Kapolet. A casual labourer was shot dead during the raid. Hitherto, police and anti-stock theft unit officers yesterday came to the Kapolet, but no assistance to help recover the stolen cattle believed still hidden in Kipteperr and Kapkanyar forests in Cherangany hills. The officers come and go back to their stations. It is very frustrating.

The Pokot community is using cattle rustling as a tool to chase other communities in the region – they want other peoples land by force in order to expand their territory. To support this On 28th October 2000 at Mtelo Hall in West Pokot district when the COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE LAND LAW SYSTEM OF KENYA , THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ACT (CAP.102 - LAWS OF KENYA ) visited the district to collect views. Sengwer community members presented their views orally and written memoranda. Pokot leaders threatened us. They said we are squatters and aliens to the district. The leaders said they’d continue stealing cattle until they are given their land in Trans Nzoia. Besides, they warned us that they will steal our cattle as a polite way of saying get out of the district. An Assistant Minister, Mayor of Kapenguria Municipal Council both Pokot and many others threatened us. The Pokot leaders said all these threatening words before the Commissioners of the Land Review, the District Security Team and other top government officials. No action has been taken till this date.

In August 2004 at Kenya School of Monetary Studies during the ongoing National Land Policy Formulation Process a Pokot leader who was participating in the workshop said that Cattle rustling is not cattle rustling but land rustling referring to Cattle rustling by Pokot cattle rustlers.

Sengwer indigenous peoples are asking

a) Is it the role of the government to:

Protect its citizens and property from internal and external attack?

Provide 24 hours security for all citizens of this country?


b) Why is the government discriminating Sengwer peoples:

When giving out guns to Kenya Police Reservists (KPR) and or Home guards? Our neighbours (Luhya, Nandi, Kikuyu, etc) on the Trans Nzoia side (Kesogon, Kiambu, Munyaka, Mwireri, Makutano, Bonde, Kapsara, etc have KPR/Home guards with guns. Our community members are sandwiched between the Pokot and Luhya, Nandi, Kikuyu, etc. The first victims of Pokot rustlers are Sengwer peoples – why is then that the other tribes are given guns and Sengwer are discriminated against?

Sengwer peoples request that

Pokot Cattle rustlers:- The government should, urgently, bring to an end cattle rustling in along Cherangany hills along and around Trans Nzoia/West Pokot border; Trans Nzoia/Marakwet border; and West Pokot/Marakwet border. Pokot rustlers are currently putting up in Kipeteperr and Kapkanyar forests in Cherangany hills – combined police force (AP, ASTU, GSU and General Police), well selected community members and with support from Kenya Army Copters should immediately get into Cherangany forests (specifically, Kipteperr, Kapkanyar and part of Kapolet forests) and force out the rustlers

Suspects:- Immediate action be taken by the government to arrest and convict known suspects behind the ongoing cattle rustling in Kapolet (Trans Nzoia) and Talau (West Pokot), Rogorr (in Marakwet). The administration have been informed of this. 

Kenya Police Reservists/Home Guards - The government should recruit and give guns to Sengwer community members in Trans Nzoia and West Pokot districts as a matter of urgency. We require atleast 100 KPR both in Trans Nzoia, Marakwet and West Pokot districts.

Administration Police officers - More administration police officers be deployed in Kapolet assistant chief’s office in Kapolet forest station; Rogorr along Trans Nzoia and Marakwet boundary; Bahati in Sinyereri location in Trans Nzoia along Marakwet/West Pokot and Trans Nzoia boundaries; Talau chief’s office in Talau, Koipos chief’s office and Kapirech in Koisagat location in West Pokot district.

Anti Stock Theft Unit - ASTU officers in Kampi/Munyaka in Sinyereri location in Trans Nzoia should be increased and mandated to carry our daily patrol along West Pokot, Marakwet and Trans Nzoia boundary.

Radio Call Sets - The government to install radio call sets in Kapolet assistant chief’s office in Kapolet forest station in Trans Nzoia district; Kapirech in Koisagat location in West Pokot district and Rogorr/Kapterit in Marakwet district.

Security committee – The government should include representation and participation of Sengwer leaders in security committees from location, divisional, district, provincial and national levels.

Settlement of Sengwer in Kapolet –The government should complete the settlement of Sengwer community members in Kapolet forest.

Security meeting – We request the provincial administration to call for an urgent security meeting to be attended by DCs and MPs (from Marakwet, Trans Nzoia and West Pokot); Pokot, Sabaot, Sengwer, Marakwet, Kikuyu and Luhya leaders in Trans Nzoia, Marakwet and West Pokot districts.

 

Yours Faithfully,

On behalf of Sengwer ethnic minority indigenous peoples

 

Mr. Jacob K Tekeroi

Chairman, Sengwer Kapolet Land Allocation Committee

Tel: 0735493161

Mr. David Yator Kiptum

Executive Coordinator

Sengwer Indigenous Development Project

Tel: 0721484279

Mr. Ronald K Kibowen

Elder

Ms Viola Chepngetich

Youth Representative

Thomas Yator

Elder

 

CC:

Director General – NISS

PS Ministry of Provincial Administration and National Security

Catholic Justice and Peace Commission

DC Trans Nzoia

PC Rift Valley

ECOTERRA Intl.

United Nations

Minority Group International

Sengwer Aid

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