The National Assembly has pledged to enact legislation in the North Rift region, ensuring that cattle rustling and banditry are treated as severe offenses akin to terrorism.
Gabriel Tongoyo, the chair of the departmental committee on administration and internal security, highlighted that during the previous election period, over 600 lives were lost to banditry in the Kerio Valley—exceeding the toll caused by terrorism activities.
Addressing the media in Iten following a fact-finding mission on cattle rustling activities conducted by the committee in the region, the chair emphasized that considering the significant loss of lives, cattle rustling can no longer be treated lightly.
“We are considering as parliament to lump the acts of cattle rustling and banditry together with terrorism so that anyone found guilty of engaging in the acts will face the full force of the law,” he said.
He said it was sad that in the 21st century, people in the area are still losing lives, property, and depriving their children of educational opportunities due to regressive activities such as cattle rustling.
Tongoyo commended the government for its comprehensive plan, which involves the construction of roads and boarding schools in the area. This initiative aims to provide education, particularly for children from pastoralist communities, thereby reducing the likelihood of them being recruited into illegal activities.
He acknowledged that, despite the area currently experiencing relative peace due to government efforts, it is crucial to seek a lasting solution to the menace.
The chair, who led the team in a courtesy visit to Governor Wisley Rotich, urged leaders in the region to be cautious with their statements, warning against inciting violence. He emphasized the committee’s commitment to publicly identify any leaders who engage in such actions, even on the floor of the house.