Last week’s burning of a luxury Safari lodge in Laikipia County just goes to show that law and order is yet to be restored in the area despite the deployment of troops.
The brazen attack on Mukutan Retreat is just another blow to the country’s tourism industry.
The country cannot afford to lose big spending international visitors hence the urgent need to quickly restore order.
Our tourism industry is a very sensitive sector that is heavily reliant on foreign visitors. Negative reports about the situation in Laikipia can hamper on-going efforts to woo more tourists to visit the country. The destruction of properties worth millions of shillings in the ranches and conservancies are unacceptable and the perpetrators must be brought to book.
While some have attributed the conflict between ranchers and pastoralists to the on-going drought that has ravaged parts of the country, there are those who opine that politicians with an eye on the August 8 General Election are behind the violence.
We urge the government to crack down on rogue politicians that are stoking the embers and inciting violence so as to garner votes.
Though we don’t doubt that there are genuine pastoralists searching for pasture for their livestock in the famine-hit region, the time has come for us to find a lasting solution to the problem.
The country’s arid and semi-arid regions have borne the brunt of the ravaging drought. The affected pastoralists have been forcibly driving their thirsty and hungry livestock onto the private ranches. The seriousness of the conflict has seen the United Kingdom protest vehemently, especially after a rancher was killed by armed invaders last month.
The British High Commission has said that the attacks by communities neighbouring the county were worrying and should be brought to a quick end. The government deployed troops to the county to restore order and disarm residents.
Even as the government seeks solutions to the natural calamities, there is need to sit down with the ranchers and pastoralists and find a tenable solution.