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PRESS STATEMENT BY BORANA COUNCIL OF ELDERS, RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND THE BORANA PROFESSIONALS REGARDING CS MATIANGI’S THREATS DURING HIS IMPROMPTU VISIT TO ISIOLO COUNTY ON 21/3/2019

We the Borana Council of Elders, religious leaders and the Borana Professionals wish to condemn in the strongest term possible the visit by the Cabinet Secretary for interior and coordination Dr. Fred Matiangi as ill-timed, unfortunate and violating the basic tenets of protocol. His visit was unannounced and suspect and against, desirous mannerism and protocol- of informing and consulting with both the informal and formal leadership including; the political leadership before issuing the antagonistic directives that calls for the immediate arrest of some unnamed individuals and Isiolo leaders.

The overdrive exhibited by the CS is contrary to his handling of Isiolo-Garissa boundary conflict which he has snubbed to-date despite continuous build-up of tension, loss of lives and property.

While we agree that Kenya’s constitution guarantee, Kenyan’s right to live and work anywhere, we believe that this right is selectively applied and this leads us into asking the CS the following questions or why indifferences, during the following instances:-

I) We would like to ask the interior Ministry why such efforts was not employed in 2011, 2015, 2017 & 2018 conflict when over 400 families were forcefully evicted from Ardha Jilla situated between Kisima and the School of Infantry. This eviction was carried out under the direct instruction of the Deputy County Commissioner Tigania East and his security committees.

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On 14th October, 2015, on accusation of invading their territory, Kamulini residents of Igembe North, killed over 100 cattle belonging to Boran community while injuring another 300, Ironically than address this gross injustice meted on our people and livestock, the government instituted charges on the 5 owners of the said cattle with the offence of attempted murder.

On 5th April 2016, just a few kilometers from anti-stock theft Unit(ASTU) camp in Kachuru, 6 camels belonging to Mzee Ali Boru and former County Council chair, Hon Mohammed Mericha were cut to deaths for allegedly crossing over into Meru boundary.

Other case of selective application of laws was in 2017 when a mosque put up past 78 tank battalion was burnt to ashes by residents of Mathabiti and this was on account that it was built on other people’s community land and that we are not exceptional and we will rise to defend our rangelands.

We are aware, where the CS directives is coming from and this is on fictitious accounts fed to him by the Regional Commissioner and the County Commissioner; who are holding brief for the immigrant Garreh Community.

We categorically want to state that we have called for the relocation of the Garreh community out of our rangeland and not Isiolo Township. Our continuous call for relocation out of our rangeland is anchored on the following reasons:-

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I) The stock number is growing day by day and is a cause of environmental degradation.

As council with mandate in rangeland management, we categorically states that every community must remain within its traditional grazing areas or reserves.
II) That the land in question is a community land guided by the community land Act.

The use and access of this land and the resources contained therein is for the indigenous community who have managed it for centuries.

We also want to state that since time immemorial we have shared resources with others during period of stress such as drought within established protocol or such declaration as Modogashe-Garissa declaration, which must be followed.
III) The ever-growing livestock population particularly camels is completely destroying the environment at the expense of indigenous livestock species owned by the indigenous community in the contested rangelands including Gotu.

IV) There are reports of non-resident Garreh’s, planning to buy thousands of camel to cash on the camel milk demand in Isiolo and particularly Nairobi.

V) The Garreh communities in Isiolo have continually refused to heed to rangeland resolution passed by the council and have opted to use and influence the local administration through payment of bribes and other inducement, unaware of how the system (Deedha) works and when part of its is activated.

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VI) The Garreh community has resulted in abuse and misuse of communications equipment, packing hate messages and spreading same via whatsapp and Facebook.

The same was used in spreading hate messages during skirmishes in Southern Ethiopia and Moyale, Marsabit County. In the misuse of communication equipment, the said community has targeted the local political leadership and the council members with messages that borders on faith and extreme nudity.
VII) The Garreh community expansionist tendencies has led to loss of residential plots by the several poor household in Isiolo, with instances of individuals owning several pieces of land acquired through illegal means such as influencing local land officials in Isiolo and Nairobi.

Consequently, we would like to reiterate our earlier resolution that we can no longer entertain the Garreh herds in our rangeland and appeal to CS Matiangi to facilitate their safe relocation to a place of their choice.

Last but not least we appeal for fair application of law outside emotional outburst and despite the portrayal of inefficiencies and poor handling of situation by the County Commissioner and his security team.

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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