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The fresh outbreak of violence in the Rift Valley is quite frightening.

We have on several occasions in the past weeks called for firm action to end the skirmishes but, apparently, little has been done. Instead, the conflict is escalating by the day and threatens to get out of hand.

In the latest flare-up, at least two people have been killed, tens of others injured and many more dispossessed and displaced and left to face the vagaries of nature.

Our concern is that the provincial administration and security agencies have been quite indifferent to the goings-on in Central Rift.

Basically, the conflict is around communities in Narok, Nakuru, Bomet and Kericho counties.

And it all relates to the occupation of the Mau Forest and discontent over irregular allocations of land titles.

Underneath this is the enduring feeling of injustices that date way back to the colonial times and were perfected in the Kanu era, when particular communities were favoured over others not only on land allocation but government support in terms of infrastructure and general socio-economic development.

Mau Forest is at the centre of the conflict. One of the warring groups is intent on occupying the forest despite express prohibition by the government.

On the other hand, the rival group sees the occupation of Mau as an existential threat — depletion of forest cover, leading to water scarcity and, ultimately, food and pasture insufficiency.


But in the mix are the politicians, who have not spared any efforts to incite communities to rise up against their neighbours and mount a fight to protect their supposed turfs.

For them, conflict is a ploy in their game of self-preservation, no matter how tragic.

It is common knowledge that Rift Valley is an amalgam of many communities, among them immigrants who moved in to eke out a living.

Although the migration started years ago with some of the current generations unaware of their origins, unfortunately, they are still considered outsiders.

For the immigrants, the Rift Valley is home and they cannot be relocated because they have nowhere else to go.

This is the reason the communities must be socialised to coexist and collaborate with others for their mutual good.

Perennial fighting as we now witness in the region, therefore, is unacceptable.

Sooner rather than later, we will be talking about mass deaths if the skirmishes are not stopped. Past experience has shown how tragic the clashes can be.

The government should use all its machinery to stop the chaos. It must rein in the inciters, stop the aggression and evict all the illegal occupants from Mau Forest.

We demand action to end the continued bloodletting in the Rift.