AFRICA/KENYA - Masai and Kikuyu agree to share water resources. “Local Church played an important part in helping to solve the dispute” Consolata missionary told Fides

Thursday, 3 February 2005

Nairobi (Fides Service) - Masai and Kikuyu tribes in a place a hundred kilometres south west of the capital Nairobi have settled a dispute of water resources (see Fides 1 February 2005). The chiefs agreed to find a way to share the water of the River Ewaso Kedong.
The agreement was reached after lengthy negotiations between the elders of the two tribes at the Catholic church in Karima. The talks were mediated by security minister Chris Murungaru.
“The local Church played a major role to help solve the dispute” Consolata Father Eugenio Ferrari, Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Kenya told Fides. “An interreligious prayer for peace with a request for forgiveness held at the Catholic parish of Longonot helped restore calm and convince the sides to start dialogue”.
“The fact that an agreement was reached is another proof that the clashes were tribal and not political” the missionary said. “If it had been a case of political forces feeding the fight I am certain the Bishops’ Conference would have intervened to denounce the fact”.
Over the past weeks more than 30 people died in fighting between Masai and Kikuyu in various parts of Kenya. Clashes started when Masai herdsmen took their animals to water close to fields cultivated by Kikuyu sedentary farmers.
“Drought has affected many parts of Kenya in recent months and this heightened tension with regard to water supplies” the missionary said. “There will be no improvement in the situation until the next rains fall which are expected sometime in mid March”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 3/2/2005 righe 29 parole 341)