Residents in West Pokot complain of victimization

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Demonstrators in Makutano town
Demonstrators in Makutano town

Residents of West Pokot county demonstrated over what they termed as community victimization. The demonstrators defended their leaders over threats of arrest following the insecurity upsurge in the neighbouring Baringo County.

More than 200 residents marched on the streets of Kapenguria town and they accused the Deputy President of giving the ‘shoot to kill’ order, saying they don’t need the ongoing operation in Baringo and Laikipia Counties.

Carrying placards and singing songs against the Deputy President William Ruto for meddling in the affairs of the community.

One of the placards read, “We are not criminals. We are Kalenjins and peace-loving Kenyans. We don’t want Ruto.”

The demonstrators said that the leaders led by West Pokot senator John Lonyangapuo are peace champions and not inciters.

They said that the Pokots have been marginalized since independence yet have a right to be protected.

They said the community shouldn’t be taken as aggressors adding that their leaders have championed peace among the neigbouring communities of Sebei, Karamajong of Uganda, Turkana, Marakwet and Luhyas.

“ Pokots are Kenyans. If they don’t want us we will go to Uganda, we want development and not operation. We need irrigation and education instead of guns,” said Josephine Cheprum.

They accused the government of disrespecting their leaders insisting that senator John Lonyangapuo was the community’s spokesman.

They accused the government of biasness in deploying Kenya Police Reservists (KPR) in the region.

“The Government deployed many KPRs in Marakwet and not in Pokot yet our senator Lonyangapuo is the one who pushed for the passing of KPR bill in parliament,” he said.

However, they said they will support Jubilee in the coming polls. “We will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August Polls and not his Deputy William Ruto. We have more than 250,000 votes,” said Meshack Kakuko.