Concern as North Rift’s insecurity stalls development

Most multi-billion projects initiated by Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) and other agencies in cattle rustling-prone areas in the North Rift have stalled due to rampant cases of insecurity.

KVDA managing director David Kimosop said potential investors were staying away from the region and that development was under threat.

“Kerio Valley sits on massive enormous resources but with elusive peace no meaningful development will be achieved,” Mr Kimosop told Business Daily.

He cited a water project in Loiyabat near Kainuk in Turkana County which was abandoned after four workers were killed by armed bandits.

“A water project in Kapedo also stalled after the warring Turkana and Pokot communities differed on where the disputed area falls. Rampant killings, including the massacre of 19 Administration Police officers in November last year have affected our development pace,” said Mr Kimosop.

Other stalled projects include Nakwamoru irrigation project on the downstream of the Turkwel power project, Katilu irrigation scheme, and Lotubae irrigation project in Turkana East.

Leaders from cattle rustling-prone counties are set to hold a meeting to find a lasting solution to the insecurity menace.

The meeting will be attended by leaders among them, governors, MPs, senators, speakers, MCAs and religious leaders from West Pokot, Samburu, Baringo, Turkana, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Nakuru and Laikipia.

It comes even as conflicts are expected to increase during the dry season as the scramble for resources intensifies. The discovery of oil in Kerio Valley by Tullow Oil is also expected to feature prominently during the two-day meeting.

According to Mr Kimosop residents have been demanding to be issued with title deeds before roll out of the project.

Tullow Oil has identified the more than 7,000Km2 Block 12A at Kerio Valley belt which runs across Elgeyo-Marakwet and Baringo counties as potential areas for oil exploration and drilling is set to start soon following the conclusion of the seismic surveys in February 2014.

Also likely to face opposition is roll out of a Sh6 billion geothermal power project in Baringo county which will see the generation of more than 3,000 megawatts.

Mr Kimosop said KVDA has already concluded mapping out resources and come up with an master plan in a bid to establish how they can be exploited for the economic betterment of locals.