Illegal herders drive 60,000 cattle into private ranches in Laikipia

Over 60,000 cattle are being grazed illegally in private ranches in Laikipia County, Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe has said.

The PS said the operation to drive out the animals and herders is on and that security officers engaging in the exercise will uphold human rights.

Mr Lesiyampe said he was directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to meet parties involved in the conflict and find a solution.

“I am supposed to write and present a report to the President within two days on what has been happening here. He instructed me to get the truth of the matter,” the PS told a meeting of elders in Nanyuki on Wednesday.

The PS has been in the region since Tuesday to assess the situation and hold meetings with elders of the pastoralists, ranchers and all communities affected by the conflict.

He said ranchers have written seven letters petitioning the national government to act over the invasion.

A representative of the ranchers, Mr Martin Evans of Ol Maisor Farm claimed the invasions were political and that some herders were forcing their animals to private ranches while armed with AK-47 rifles.

“We are being forced to sell our animals because they are bringing twice the number of our stock,” Mr Evans told the meeting.

He wondered why the herders could not lease the pasture instead of forcing their way into ranches.

Laikipia County Commissioner Onesmus Musyoki said the operation to drive out the animals from the ranches was on until instructed otherwise by The Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery.

He however said the herders were free to enter into grazing agreements with individual ranchers.

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