Bandits continue to make life unbearable in the neighboring ranches owned by white settlers. Local farmers living next to ranches are not spared, and as such living there is proving dramatic.
Laikipia’s dispute has been described as one revolving over grazing land among herders, ranchers and the locals.
Beyond the stories of cattle and raids over better grazing land lies a community of farmers in the eye of the storm, whose lives have taken a turn for the worse.
Theirs is now a story of devastation , loss and an uncertain future.
On this particular day the bandits came in at 1:16 am , deep in the night . Locals report hearing voices outside.A cocktail of different sounds competing with the silence – sounds of goats running amidst screams.
After sometime , what sounded like about twenty people knocked down the gate and came into the compound of Ann Wangondu, a resident of Matwiku ,Laikipia West .
Bandits Bloody Attacks
They forced themselves through the gate and moved in around the compound. Consequently breaking the kitchen door then moving to the next room.
After they broke the door and came in ,the bandits ate the leftovers that the family had on the table. They then proceeded to their bedroom and took clothes ,beddings and anything else they could lay their hands on.
Farmers now live in fear of not knowing when the next attack knocking on their doors will arrive. Farms are made unproductive and abandoned.
Today a family of seven struggles to get a meal for a day. As she tries to care for the children, the mother is left in a dilemma. What child she’ll feed and which child she’ll leave hungry for?
If all was perfect, Ann could have sold five sacks of maize that would enable her son to be circumcised and eat well afterwards.
A herder with 3,000 heads of cattle and with no pasture to find is forced to trespass on the farmers ‘ property.
Ann notes that, Amaya triangle should talk to elders and convince them to reduce the herd size to more convenient and manageable sizes. This is one way of preventing cattle rustling and violence.
A report was done in 2017 titled Cattle Barons: Political Conflict, Land Invasions and Forced Displacement in Laikipia County, Kenya. The report notes that the collision of modernity with traditional institutions has led to the emergence of an arrogant class of morans.
Because of a few years of schooling and access to cell phones ,they are no longer listening to the elders.
Life on the edge
Laikipia’s natural ambiance is now soaked in blood. The stunning majesty of its landscapes and panaromic views is about to end.
In the time of drought, bandits dressed as herders abandon their pasture and arrive at farms for cattle raids. Locals now asking ,what kind of drought is that ?
The attackers are not selective based on society’s colour, race or gender. Unfortunately, the major land invasions overwhelm small plots belonging to the Kikuyu freeholders in Laikipia West.
Living a life on the run is wearing and tearing down locals.
Hearing gunshots and seeing bullets flying in the air ,is now a way of life for the farmers in Laikipia West.
Thanks to bandits attacks all year round, parents do not know what grades their children will achieve in their exams. Schools remain closed for the better part of the year.
Amaya & Bandits
Its not strange to see parents taking their children out of school over insecurity. With each passing day the attacks keep on escalating. Locals often wonder what is the role of AMAYA Triangle ?
So how do taxpayers use money to pay a Director appointed through the back door without a comprehensive job portfolio ?What kind of leadership is this ? They ask. Will they ever live in peace ?
Several months down the line, given large budget allocations, the office has little to offer.
Amaya triangle is a cash cow, and it continues to misappropriate tax payers money. Local farmers can only ask hard questions and hope for the best. For how long will they face heavily armed bandits with their crude weapons like pangas and machetes ?
Will a mother pick up a machete to defend herself ,or will she protect her child?
As things stand, there seems to be no forthcoming appropriate solution to the Laikipia invasions crisis.