The clergy in West Pokot County have vowed to collaborate with the government in promoting peace within the region.
The clergy stated that they were doing their best to ensure that the West Pokot community gets both spiritual and educational empowerment which they pinpointed were critical in enhancing peace.
The men and women of cloth were speaking during an interdenominational thanksgiving service attended by President William Ruto at Makutano Stadium on Sunday. They were led by retired Anglican Church of Kenya Bishop Stephen Kewasis.
“We as the clergy in the region are committed to ensuring we establish schools for our community members to have their children get education. The church plays a critical role in changing people’s way of life through preaching against retrogressive cultural practices,” said Bishop Kewasis.
He appealed to the government to enjoin the religious community in their empowerment programmes for sustainable development.
The clergy noted that although the county has been branded as a region bedeviled by insecurity, a huge part is known to be peaceful.
“You excellency the president, we started this journey of making our region a haven of peace when you were the Deputy President. We are very confident that now that you are the president, we shall collaborate to end these isolated cases of livestock thefts,” stated the retired bishop.
He added that as religious leaders, they are committed to engage all elders from the neighborhoods to bring a lasting solution to cattle rustling.
The clergy highlighted that cattle rustling was being propelled by the culture of polygamy and giving birth to many children that fail to go to school hence the need to prioritise education in the region.
They also underscored the value of community radio stations and appealed to the Head of State to consider assisting the religious community to establish a radio station to help push the peace and development agenda for the region.
Speaking during the event Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago suggested a downward review of the dowry demands to three animals arguing that it will help discourage cattle raids.
“Demanding for as high as 20 cows as dowry encourages cattle rustling. It is high time we thought of reducing the figure to three cows. We can shift to exotic breeds such as Sahiwal so that one animal can be equated to several animals,” said Mandago.
The call for peace dominated the event with area Members of Parliament calling for enhanced road infrastructure noting that the move will open up the area for effective security operations.
Area legislators Peter Lochakapong (Sigor), Titus Lotee (Kacheliba), their Kapenguria counterpart Samuel Moroto and County Woman Representative Rael Kasiwai called for completion of roads initiated by the government to help boost security and open up the vast county.
Moroto on his part asked for the subdivision of the West Pokot Subcounty into two arguing that the area was too vast for effective management and administration.
The legislators also vouched for the establishment of a university in the region mentioning that a satellite campus that was in the region was closed down leaving the region without a university.