By Arnold Neliba
KITALE, JANUARY 18, 2022 (CISA)-Bishop Maurice Crowley of the Catholic Diocese of Kitale has urged residents in the troubled Kerio Valley to rethink their leaders and vote out politicians inciting violence in the region.
“We are failing. And the reason we are failing is that the local leaders aren’t coming together. And the local leaders do say something in the morning and they do something else in the evening. And we have tried very hard. But now this killing, the killing of innocent people. It has to stop. It has to stop, there must be a new vote, for the way these people act down there,” gutted Bishop Crowley.
Kerio Valley has witnessed successive bandit attacks that have claimed many lives including school-going children and security officers. The area is dominated by nomadic pastoralists and has witnessed increased cases of cattle rustling from neighbouring communities.
“Why isn’t the rest of the country in the fire except this small part, which is poor? So I am saying that any leader that isn’t, should be removed out of the place and let us look again at the leaders who are present. The churches will help but we cannot do everything if the leaders are not with us,” bemoaned the Kenyan prelate to the press.
The bishop’s concerns come amidst threats by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to withdraw their members from the region following an increase in the attacks. The union issued an ultimatum to the government to address matters of insecurity in the region and advised teachers to keep off schools until their safety is guaranteed.
The death toll of the Kerio Valley attacks since June 2021 is at 63.
Kerio Valley lies between the Tugen Hills and Elgeyo Escarpment in Kenya. It is inhabited by the Elgeyo community to the southern part and the northern part by the Marakwet community. The Tugen people live on the slopes of the Tugen Hills.