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Anglican Church of Kenya Bishop Jackson Sapit (Centre) with Narok County Governor Samuel Tunai and Narok County Commissioner, Samuel Kimiti consulting. Photo Bell Pere

Church intervenes in Trans Mara West bitter land feuds

By Bell Pere

The Church has finally decided to intervene in the conflict between the Uasin Nkishu and Siria Maasai sections that has been ongoing for over 60 years.  The recent flare-up of conflict ended with the death of one person while lots of property was burned down.

The  church intervention which was praised by both National and county governments will seek to come up with long a lasting solution to the conflict  by attempting to bring peace to Nkararo area in Trans Mara West Sub-county.

The two Maasai sections have been fighting over alleged land injustices since 1956, a war that has led to loss of hundreds of lives.

The County Government led by Narok County Governor Samuel ole Tunai tasked a group of six bishops including Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson Sapit  to come up with amicable and practical solutions to the dispute.

According to Mr  Tunai, in a meeting held at the County Commissioner’s office, he asked the Church for directions and to act as a mediator in trying to resolve the conflict.

He said that the national and county government and the Church should really work together in coming up with a peace process for the two sections.

A task force led by Bishop Nakola had conducted an extensive research into how the conflict came to be and how it can be resolved.

In their report, it was noted that the conflict which began over 60 years ago, was allegedly triggered when the  Isiria section claimed that 9 of their morans were killed inside a Maasai Manyatta by the UasinNkishu people.
During the research it emerged that the two clans were willing to resolve their indifferences, but a few issues had to be straightened out first.

The issues included, alleged misplacement of documents at land offices, alleged incitement by cultural and political beliefs, shifting boundaries, individual conflicts, and encroachment of land by each section.

The two Maasai sections have asked that any surveys within the area to be stopped by the Government so as to stop the ever shifting boundaries and that title deeds to immediately be issued.

On the other hand the Trans Mara West Land Registry office has maintained that the Number 10 and 17 land sheets records claimed to have been missing are intact. The title deeds are about to be issued. The office has urged the few who have individual conflicts not to fuel the war. The office also claimed that the Maasai sections are jealous of each other and may not be much willing to surrender their lands at whatever cost.

The office also dismissed any claims of corruption as alleged by the some Members of County Assemby and the residents of the area.

The MCAs who were interviewed over the matter also alleged that the boundary was shifted but they kept off it fearing victimization by their people that could have lead to loss of votes.

The church on their part, say that in order for the dispute to be resolved the following measures should be adapted; land allotment to be supported with title deeds, the current boundary put in place by the County Commissioner to be agreed upon as it closely matches the first ever put up boundary.

They also want the government to set up a conflict resolution fund which will not only be used for compensation but also in mediation.

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