Kenyan herders, whose cattle was sold in neighbouring Tanzania for grazing across the border, have received big relief after the Kenyan government released a Ksh53 million ($530,000) compensation package for the loss.
The 22 livestock keepers from the border Kajiado County lost 1,325 animals after Tanzania confiscated and auctioned them on grounds that they were illegally in the neighbouring country.
The $530,000 compensation package translates to Ksh40,000 ($400) for each animal lost in the raid.
Kenya's Director of Livestock Production Julius Kiptarus said Wednesday that the money had been released from Nairobi for disbursement to the herders next week.
Mr Kiptarus said each herder is being compensated at a flat rate of Ksh40,000 ($400) for every cow lost. He said a decision was made to pay the herders upon realising that most had been left destitute after their only source of livelihood was wiped out with the confiscation of their cattle.
Mr Kiptarus said the cheque was already with the county commissioner for disbursement.
He said delay in paying out the cash had been caused by the due diligence done to ensure the monies went to the right beneficiaries.
“We had to do a fact finding mission to ascertain that the number of cattle lost in the auction is the number that farmers claimed. We had to liaise with our Tanzanian counterparts to verify the facts and avert the entry of imposters or exaggeration of the number of livestock lost,” Mr Kiptarus said.
Kajiado County commissioner David Kipkemei confirmed that he had received the cheque and that the right cattle owners would be paid.
The financial intervention has received support from local leaders who say loss of animals had left the pastoralist families without a source of livelihood.
“We are delighted that the government has seen it fit to revive the livelihoods of our people who had been reduced to abject poverty,” said Martin Moshisho, the deputy governor.
Mr Moshisho said the county leadership had pleaded with local residents not take the law into their hands and to comply with the law even as they look for pasture and water for their cattle.
The cattle were seized at the height of a cold war between Kenya and Tanzania in a move that intensified mistrust along the common border.