MPs’ group role in delivering pastoralists agenda

Friday, December 9th, 2022 00:00 | By
Pastoralists herding their animals. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Leadership matters. Good and right leadership creates engagement with passion. It leads to higher levels of discretionary effort and performance of the team, loyalty, service, and innovation and ultimately provides results.

Leaders determine values, create and entrench culture and character, and above all change agent that generates new motivation for action.

The mandate of parliamentarians is to make laws, represent the people and oversee the executive. The Pastoralist Parliamentary Group (PPG) was formed in 1998 and recognized as the largest parliamentarian caucus in the parliament in 2019.

Its purpose is to mainstream the pastoralists’ agenda within the national political and policy processes. The membership of PPG is open to all members elected or nominated from the pastoralist counties to the National Assembly and Senate.

The PPG members represent 15 counties and 66 single parliamentary constituencies with a total of registered voters of 2,593,165 in 2017. The total number of people recorded during the national census in the PPG counties stood at 9,787,730 people. These counties are Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, West Pokot, Turkana, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Lamu, Mandera, Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia, Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet.

In the 12th Parliament, the membership of the PPG was 108 members from 11 political parties. The leadership included: Aden Duale, then Garissa Township MP as patron, Alois Lentoimanga, MP Samburu North, as chairman, Major (Rtd) Abdullahi Bashir (Mandera North) and Rehema Dida, Isiolo Woman MP, as the Secretary-General and  Mohamud Sheikh Mohamed, Wajir South MP as the treasurer. There was a total of 27 women parliamentarians including the first pastoralist woman elected to the Senate from Isiolo County. None of the PPG officials was re-elected except the patron and the vice chair.

The overall strategic objectives for the Pastoralist Parliamentary Group since the 11th Parliament remained the same: Eliminating inter-communal conflict in the pastoralist areas, realising constitutional, statutory, institutional and policy gains for pastoralists, advancing the interests of pastoralist women through the policy and legislative process, contributing towards a more positive recognition of pastoralism in Kenya and beyond and to build a unified and sustainable PPG with the capacity to deliver on its mandate.

In the 13th Parliament, 82 MPs and 19 Senators are members of PPG. The focus of the members will be climate change resilience, human security, peace building and promoting community land rights.

All the dryland counties have been ravaged by severe drought and affected by insecurity and the people need to have their lands registered.

On November 28 and 29, PPG members had an induction meeting whose opening ceremony was officiated by President William Ruto. In his speech, the President acknowledged the importance of PPG saying that “he considers it ‘an illustrious organization, dedicated to the noble task of achieving critical constitutional values and principles of governance by mainstreaming the agenda of constituencies, communities and sectors that were previously marginalized.”

He added: “Through formulating policies and strategies to redress the inequality and suffering resulting from this neglect, the PPG ensures that Kenya lives up to its promise to become an inclusive society.”

President Ruto encouraged members to play their role effectively through vigorous oversight, peace building, sensitization, and public awareness campaigns, as well as initiatives to demonstrate the advantages of inter-ethnic harmony and collaboration.

The first point of testing the truism of their enthusiasm in pursuit of pastoralist agenda is for the MPs and the Executive arm of government to establish an amicable new working relationship to find a lasting solution to the cattle rustling menace and overcome the persistent drought that has claimed over 60 per cent of their source of livelihood – pastoralism.

— The writer is the CEO of Drylands Learning and Capacity Building Initiative and Secretary to the Pastoralists Parliamentary Group (PPG) Secretariat

More on Opinion