Perennial clashes in Laikipia County have resulted in billions of shillings in losses to investors denting the image of a region that boasts of many untapped investment opportunities.
The over two decades confrontations many times revolve around the huge chunks of leased land with the fight pitting smallholder farmers, group ranch owners and white settlers on one side against herders from surrounding communities with illegal arms also contributing to escalation of violence.
Laikipia, occupied by both farmers and pastoralists in the northern, eastern and western constituencies, has mostly witnessed clashes in the northern parts which often spill to the west and the east.
While the volatile situation has scared away investors and frozen business activities in some areas, there are indigenous and foreign landowners in the area who are looking to tap into the region’s opportunities.
Mr Wahome Muotia, an investor who is putting up an eco-lodge in Laikipia’s Ol Moran, explains that “there is so much potential in Laikipia” that a lasting peace would mean greater investments, job opportunities to locals and economic growth for the county.
“When I bought this land in 2006, it was my goal to put up a resort city to attract tourists from around the globe, as well as Kenyan professionals living in towns but would love a break from the hustle and bustle of the city,” he says.
He states that his goal is to have a mixed-use development complete with residential houses, a golf course, racetrack and commercial animal farming that would produce beef and mutton for export. However, he says that this would take a lot of effort with the recurrent bloody clashes in the area.
Almost 50 per cent of the county land mass is owned by large-scale ranchers — less than 30 of them. The county borders the pastoralist counties of Baringo, Samburu and Isiolo, where farmers own large herds of cattle. The herders perceive a lot of land owned by the ranchers as being idle.
Poverty, poor infrastructure and divergent cultural values have also been cited as contributors to the flames of discord among local people besides unoccupied land owned by absentee landlords who leave their land lying fallow for years which has proved tempting to pastoralists in search of open spaces.
However, just like Mr Muotia, other investors have seen opportunities in manufacturing and industrial processing that the area has.
The vastness of the region and the weather is favourable for large-scale livestock farming. There are opportunities that can be tapped in food, meat and leather processing. This is besides the beautiful landscapes and high concentration of wildlife that makes the area a good tourist attraction site.
The area also has a great potential for commercial fish farming which some people such as Mr Wahome have been doing. There are large dams in the area populated with catfish and tilapia.
Laikipia has animal conservancies and large ranches that many agree can be of import to the area’s wobbling economy.
“We have been set aback by the clashes that hit this place from time to time. They (pastoralists) come looking for pasture and water from our farms but in the process leave a lot of destruction,” says Mr Francis Kihara, Ole Moran Lodge manager.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
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Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
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Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
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