The Origin and Causes of Cattle Rustling and Banditry in Baringo Lowland, Kenya

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Symon B. Keitany https://orcid.org/0009-0002-9264-0613
John Mwaruvie
Joshia Osamba

Keywords

Cattle rustling, Kipnukie, banditry, lowland, drought

Abstract

Cattle rustling and banditry among pastoral communities in Kenya have been on the upsurge since the colonial period and there has been a significant rise in reported cases of cattle rustling and banditry attacks with devastating results among communities of Baringo Lowland of Baringo County in Kenya. Due to the loss of lives and disruption of economies of the pastoral communities in the area, the study examined the various historical socio-economic causes of the bandit economy in the zone. The study was guided by Human Needs Theory and it adopted exploratory research design. The study employed in-depth interviews with elders, youths and organized focus group discussions in Loruk, Mukutani and Kinyach areas of the lowland which is the theatre of constant attack and counter attacks by the Pokot, Tugen and Il Chamus communities. The oral evidence complements archival and documented evidence. The data was qualitatively analysed. The study reveals the socio-economic factors contributed to the cattle rustling and banditry in the lowland from 1900. They include: Kipnyigeu/ Kipnukie Era- 1904-1917; lack of proper government structures and presence; The central place of livestock in the pastoral communities and droughts, diseases and internal disagreements. These were noted as the main factors that have continued to fuel cattle rustling and banditry. The study recommends a paradigm shift in social economic culturalisation and governance which will involve County government of Baringo, National government entities, Non-Governmental Organizations and other development partners to focus on engaging the local communities and creating alternative sources of livelihoods that will combat the banditry menace.  

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