Elders from West Pokot County on Monday held traditional prayers at Nasukuta to pray for peace in the County and country at large, and to pronounce curses on leaders who will rig elections and cause violence. They were part of 2500 elders drawn from three Counties-West Pokot, Baringo, Laikipia-and Uganda.
West Pokot County was ranked among the violence hotspot regions by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC).
The elders arrived at Nasukuta on Sunday evening and spent the whole night praying for peace in the country before slaughtering a bull on Monday morning. Many people attended the prayer session, including senior elders from Pokot community and women, the youth and journalists, who were not allowed to access the sacred venue where they held the prayers.
However, journalists were only allowed to watch and take photographs of the event a few metres away from the sacred venue beside a river.
Speaking to press after the prayers, one of the elders Yaralima Chesira, said they decided to hold the prayers after the County was ranked among the hot spot areas where skirmishes were likely to occur.
Chesira said they had cursed any leader who will rig the elections since they did not want to see any blood shed. “Those who will ascend to power by rigging will die before December. We have pleased our gods by slaughtering a bull and I hope our prayers will be answered,” he said.
The elder also said that they prayed for peace in the country so that all political leaders can woo voters peacefully.
He said Kenyans want to live in unity and urged aspirants to accept the outcome of the results and help those elected in building the nation.
Another elder, Christopher Loritakau, said that they decided to hold the prayers to save the community from conflicts. “We have been conflicting with our neighbours over cattle rustling for long and we don’t want to see a repeat of that again,” he said.
He said currently they want leaders to focus on developing the region and enhancing peaceful coexistence with their neighbours.
West Pokot leaders who were present at the event led by area Senator John Lonyangapuo and former minister Samuel Poghisio welcomed the move and asked all aspirants in the County to accept the results.
Lonyangapuo dismissed the report by National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) that ranked the County as a hot spot area.
“This County is safe and no skirmishes will be experienced in the region,” he said. Poghisio asked aspirants not to interfere with recruitment of presiding officers since it may trigger conflicts. “IEBC is an independent body we shouldn’t allow aspirants to interfere with its mandate,” he said.