Leaders from the Pastoral communities in Kenya have been challenged to be on the frontline in pushing for national policies and legislations that advance their communities way of life.
Kajiado County Governor, Joseph Ole Lenku, said pastoralism is a way of life for the communities whose livelihoods have revolved around livestock keeping, and the leaders should remain focused and relevant in pushing their agenda so as to improve their people’s lives.
He called on key stakeholders in the pastoralism sector to engage in policy making processes at National and County level since it is the only way to entrench prosperity of the trade in the face of climate change that is threatening to disrupt their normal way of life.
I am calling on all leaders from pastoralists communities to be on the frontline in pushing for national policies and legislations that advance our way of life said Lenku
The Governor was speaking during a Galla Night he hosted for pastoralists at the Kenya Pastoralists Week held at Masai Technical Training Institute in Kajiado town where participants showcased traditional pastoralist cuisine, dance, fashion show and artwork displays.
Lenku said northern Kenya had for a long time been at the forefront for pushing for such policies and legislation on pastoralism and Kajiado County has now joined the fold, and with strong representation of leaders from pastoral communities in the Senate and National Assembly.
The Governor further called on pastoralists to embrace change and practice modern farming so as to combat poverty, adding that changes in climatic conditions and diminished land sizes have made it no longer viable to keep thousands of livestock as they often succumb to drought.
He revealed that Kajiado County alone lost 232,400 animals worth S3 billion during the recent dro
We have to embrace modern farming so as to combat poverty and better our lives. We can no longer continue with a nomadic pastoral lifestyle. We can still rely on livestock in a more profitable manner if we adopt modern ways, he said.
Speaking during the same event, County Commissioner, David Kipkemei, noted that pastoralists are among the few communities that have managed to maintain their culture compared to others in the modern day.
Pastoralists in Kenya and specifically the Maasai are the most celebrated cultures in this nation because when one travels out to overseas we are mostly identified as Maasai. Brave people who can easily fight and as well co-exist with lions, therefore, we are the true ambassadors of our nation which all of us must take pride in, he said.
Kipkemei, however, decried outdated traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages among pastoralists communities in Kenya which have held them back.
Even if we belong to the most celebrated communities in Kenya we must drop retrogressive cultures and adopt progressive ones so as we can be moving as one unit with the rest of the people, we must stop the culture of Female Genital Mutilation because the act is against human rights as well as our Constitution, Kipkemei said.
He further urged the Maasai Community to shun petty clannism and unite as one people, adding that such groupings were the root cause of disunity and mistrust among residents of the county.
The Kenya Pastoralist Week is an annual platform that brings together pastoralists from across the country to discuss among other issues, pastoral practices, livelihood and legislation governing animal trade and movement.
This year’s theme ‘Supporting Climate, Smart Pastoralism in Kenya’ geared towards transforming and reorienting pastoralism development under new realities of climate change.
The Gala Night was the culmination of pastoralist’s week 2018, where 12 pastoralists Counties participated.
Source: Kenya News Agency