Naisula Lesuuda: How to end insecurity in Northern counties

It is my view that the President should urgently and with the approval of the cabinet, of course, set up a team that will look into the insecurity menace in the Northern Frontier counties, i.e. Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Laikipia, Samburu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Isiolo from a holistic and multifaceted approach. The team is to report directly to the President.

I know we are fed up with “task forces and Commissions of inquires”, but hear me out; The mandate of this team will be to look into the long-term solutions even as the immediate interventions of peace meetings, and disarmament, among others, are taken.

The team needs to be on this 24/7 ensuring that these aspects are incorporated into the holistic approach.

Security

  1. Comprehensive and Simultaneous Disarmament
  2. Recruitment of well-trained, funded NPRs as they understand the local terrain better while working with other security personnel. This will also create employment for young men.
  3. Quick response to incidences as they occur.
  4. Sharing of early warning and prompt action.

Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation

  1. Peace efforts are to be continuous among all stakeholders. Dialogue especially targets the involved young men. This is Not a day’s activity.
  2. Political leaders are to be committed to the peace process and call out even their own community members when they attack. Criminals to stop hiding behind the community and their political leaders.
  3. Culprits to face the full force of the law and not just pay fines and be released back to continue with banditry. This is a criminal offence; robbery with violence, and not a cultural practice.
  4. Civic education on sustainable livestock keeping and training on alternative sources of livelihood and adaptation to claim effects are changing.
  5. Cultural exchange and interventions.

Deliberate and Targeted Development with funding.

  1. National, County Governments and Development Partners, must change tact from Peace for Development to Development as a catalyst to Peace.
  2. Schools, water, and security roads are to be given priority.

Youths

  1. The young men, commonly known as warriors already involved are mopped up and enrolled in NYS and trained on different skills and later be absorbed in the disciplined forces or supported to be self-employed.
  2. Affected families receive grants through groups to establish businesses to sustain their families, as there are very many widows who have borne the brunt of the menace.

Education

This in my opinion is the ultimate solution where it is ensured all children are in school. The team can come up with creative ways of doing this. I cannot overemphasize the importance of education. It will eventually break the cycle.

Let us be honest with ourselves, we only see so much pain and anger when so many lives are lost, forgetting that almost every day, lives are lost and livelihoods destroyed. One life is one too many.

Once it happens, we see reactionary efforts; stern press statements, leaders meetings, operations, and disarmament giving false hope that something is being done. After a couple of weeks, life goes back to normal until the next incident.

As a peace champion who deals with these issues in my constituency on almost a daily basis, I think that as a people, we have to walk the talk and make this a thing of the past.

This cannot be a one-day, or one week affair. It has to be a long-term commitment by the President and the team that will be set up to look into ending this outdated practice.

To avoid wastage of resources, the members can be seconded from different agencies and departments of government that touch on the different sectors that have a direct link to this matter instead of fresh recruitment. Representatives from Relevant Security Agencies, NCIC, CoG, Cabinet, NGCDF, NGAAF, and Development Partners among others.

The beauty is we will not be reinventing the wheel but can learn from best practices in Karamoja; Uganda and South Eastern Anatolia Development Project in Turkey. Less tough talk and more sustainable action.

Naisula Lesuuda is the MP for Samburu West Constituency

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