By Maurice Alal
NANDI County Governor Cleophas Langat has blamed rampant cattle rustling at the Kisumu- Nandi and Kericho - Kisumu borders on booming meat business. Langat said stolen animals were being sold to those operating butcheries and called on security agents to investigate the matter.
He added that the stolen animals were being slaughtered immediately especially at night in sugarcane plantation, making it difficult for police to trace them.
Langat called on Parliament to also probe the meat business in the three towns said to be fuelling cattle rustling and resulting to perennial violence in the region.
He said they had learnt through investigations that meat business in Kisumu, Nandi and Kericho towns is thriving through cattle rustling. The governor was speaking during official closing induction meeting of sub-county and ward administrators in Kisumu.
Langat claimed there was a cartel in the meat trade comprising prominent businessmen and politicians drawn from the neighboring Kalenjin and Luo communities.
He further asked Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security to probe politicians and traders adversely mentioned as instigators of clashes at the volatile region.
The governor also told residents they were to blame for the animal theft that fuels clashes along the border, adding that they the ones hiding criminals. He claimed the traders use the youth to effect the raid and ferry the stolen cattle to the butcheries owned by the entrepreneurs.
“As consumer of the meat, have you asked yourself who the beneficiaries of cattle rustling are? Don’t you know it is the meat sold to you?” he posed. “The raiders are among you. They assist those in the business to make money at the expense of peace,” Langat said.
At the same time, Langat also wants police officers from the Luo and Kalenjin communities serving at the border to be transferred to ensure lasting peace.
He argued that the previous peace efforts at the border had not borne fruit because some of the police officers seek immunity for culprits from their ethnic communities.
Police reshuffle will bring impartiality in handling the security situation across the border,” Langat added. Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma said there must be a crackdown on those in the meat business, saying it is the root course of the cross-border conflict.
Ranguma said stock theft has turned into an economic activity due to poverty in the counties with some politicians also taking advantage of the situation,” Ranguma said.
He said the national government should retain and even add the anti-stock theft police currently patrolling the area to curb the vice. Speaking at Nyamasaria in Kisumu on Sunday, Ranguma put the security organs on notice, warning them of serious consequences if they failed to deliver. “There are bad elements within the police, which must be disciplined for there to be peace,” he said.