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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Who will clean up this mess?

By Joseph Nderitu
Welcome to Sipili. This is not a courtesy note from the writer but one by heaps of rubbish along the roads or near shops. The litter is never dumped in the right place. This small enterprising hub located 60km away from Nyahururu town has been struggling to get attention from Laikipia County Council but none has been coming forth. The mess has now become a menace due to the emission of foul smell making the environment inconducive for residents and visitors.

Some residents confirmed to the Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV)that, of late no action has been taken to clean the centre and one could wonder whether the concerned authorities are still existing or not. Some even expressed dismay whether the local authority still existed. The council officials are only seen while collecting taxes and turn blind eye on the existence of litter.
Some of the uncollected litter in Sipili

Residents are up in arms after respecting their obligation to pay taxes and no complementing action has been undertaken to clean up the town. Amazingly they are willing to abandon the obligation of paying taxes and take the responsibility of keeping their town in hygiene.

A random check by LRV reveals that the only employee who used to maintain the town is no longer on site. Litter is now taking toll of the busy centre.

One entrepreneur opined that the council should install bins all over the town and furthermore start garbage collection sites. This will make the town clean. It will also boost business and make it a good place to live and invest in. He urges elected leaders in Laikipia County to intervene and take the necessary measures to curb this shame.

LRV hopes that the concerned authorizes will step up measures to eradicate the growing garbage in Sipili. The rural community voice also urges the incoming County government to put in place mechanisms that will enable people to access services they have paid for quickly. It is not lost to the rural voice that access to clean environment is a constitutional right that all people should enjoy.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Rustlers raid in rain

By Martin Wamai

Heavy rains that pounded Laikipia after long spell of drought came with doom on Tuesday afternoon. Residents have been expecting the rains to enable them start planting. In Milango Village of Ol Moran Division Laikipia West District while people were sheltering, armed cattle rustlers raided their homes and stole animals. The rustlers suspected to be from within the area wielded guns.

Some of the villagers who had pursued rustlers
They stole two cows that belonged to a widow. The woman had just untied the calves to avoid being rained on and sheltered herself in her house. After a short while, a young man came running and reported to her that her cows had been stolen. The woman could not believe this only to jet out of the house and found that her cows were not there. She started screaming and crying for help and it touched the hearts of the villagers and motivated them to pursue the pundits. The armed rustlers shot in the air to scare away the irate residents.They were later overwhelmed in Ratia Forest and animals recovered.

In recent times cattle rustling has been on the rise in Laikipia County. This is particularly a spillover from the neighboring Baringo County where such cases has been on the rise. Just before the General Election, two men were shot and several heads of cattle stolen. The government has deployed the Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) in the area but little has been done to reduce the problem.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Unsung heroes of Ndurumo

By Rahab Chege

Meet a group of twelve youths. Majority of them are ladies-seven in number and five of the rest being young men. They range between twenty and thirty five years. Ndurumo Survivors is a registered group with the Ministry of Children, Gender and Social Services. The group plays as significant role in Laikipia West District. It works towards prevention of spread of HIV and Aids, drug abuse, early marriages and peace building and fighting tribalism. To achieve this, members employ skits, choral verses and comedies to engage the public in understanding their messages. So far it has been able to reach over 42000 people. 

The group has had its activities working effectively in transforming the conservative society of Ndurumo. Many people are appreciating the critical role they play in transforming the society. An interview by Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV) with the Provincial administration reveals that, this group of youths has won the hearts of many. Ndurumo location Chief had this to say: “I am always proud to be associated with the group as their activities are relevant and have shown and uplifted the name of the location. They are role models to the society, condemn evils without embarrassment and have shown the spirit of team work.”

What has kept the group going forward these seven years according to their chairperson is teamwork and cooperation. He believes that “one big tree does not make a forest” and essentially each of them needs another. Transparency in managing group activities has been vital cord that has bond them together. The need to pass transformative messages to the society has also kept them moving. They do not have money per se but rely on well wishers to support their noble goals. Recently they received money from the government’s Youth Enterprise fund and grants from TOWA.

Occasionally, the group participates in schools and social gatherings to pass their messages. In these forums, they come up with skits and others artistic genres to rely specific information to their audience. Talent has been an investment to the members. All members actively participate in these activities since in one way or another they have the talent to demonstrate.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Farming in Kabati

By Peter Kagiri

Kabati is a cosmopolitan area located in Laikipia West District, 70km away from the main town of Nyahururu.  This remote area in the Eastern part of Rift Valley is predominantly occupied by people who entirely rely on farming for their livelihood. Despite the unfavorable climatic conditions in the area, farmers make every effort to produce food. Mixed farming is practiced here. However several challenges have come along the way to inhibit success of these farmers. Despite all, residents here have emerged successful.           

The one category of farmers in Kabati grows fruits. The types of fruits that have been known to do very well in this dry area are pineapples, sugarcane, oranges among other fruit types. This category of farmers is known to be doing well and is even richer than the rest. Compared with the rest, they are well established with progressive economic development. The warm climatic conditions have given them an advantage since their fruit plants do well in such conditions. In this season, it is specifically the pineapple farmers who are beaming with smile.

Photo of pineapple farm
Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV) visited one pineapple farmer to get firsthand information on the economic viability of this produce. He explained that he had planted about 1400 seedling in an acre piece of land. About 80%of the total seedling gave him as big-size pineapples which he sold at Ksh 50 each and the rest (20%) at Ksh30 each. This gave him a total of Ksh 62000. He encourages farmers in the area to practice fruit farming, especially pineapple which does very well in the area.        

There is another category of farmers that grow maize. Sincerely, maize farming in this dry area is not the type of crop to depend on. Occasionally farmers may get better harvest but most of the time they get low yields due to short rains. Constant invasion by wildlife has affected farming of maize in Kabati due to its proximity to Laikipia Ranching Company. The poor market prices for maize have effectively sent most farmers to paths of losses. It is expected that there will be a paradigm shift by maize farmers to try other farming activities.                

Livestock keepers are not left behind in this parched land. The animals that are mostly kept here are beef cattle, goats and sheep. However, insecurity has affected this type of farming. Constant raids from the neighboring Pokot occupying Baringo East have made many farmers to keep off from practicing livestock rearing. Unless security is heightened there is probability that most people will shun it for their own safety.