Prejudice, Blame Game Fomenting Inter-Ethnic Violence among Kenya’s Pokot, Turkana: Bishop

Kainuk Cross Border Peace Eucharistic celebration. Credit: Catholic Diocese of Lodwar

Prejudice and blame game are among vices fomenting violent confrontations between members of the Pokot and Turkana communities in Kenya, Bishop John Mbinda of the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar has said. 

In his homily during the Kainuk Cross Border Peace Eucharistic celebration that Bishop Henry Juma Odonya of the Catholic Diocese of Kitale presided over, Bishop Mbinda said, “We look at the few troublemakers as people coming from a certain tribe. We blame those from the other community for violence when it could be our neighbours causing it.”

“It's time to make sure we don't point fingers at each other; it's important to know the truth before we speak. In case our neighbours are involved, we should rebuke their actions,” Bishop Mbinda said during the Sunday, March 10 Holy Mass at All Saints Kainuk Parish of Lodwar Diocese. 

In some cases, he said, just “a few people are disruptive, but we look at them as (belonging to) a certain tribe.”

“Sometimes we blame those from the other tribe for causing violence but could be your neighbour. If you hear the shot, it's Pokot, he's got (to be) Turkana. If you hear people have fought, those are Pokot and Turkana and maybe they were from elsewhere,” the first-ever Kenyan-born member of the the Congregation of the Holy Spirit under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CSSp./Spiritans) to be consecrated Bishop said.


He lamented that prejudice against members of other tribes are planted in people from their childhood days, making it difficult to end the cycle of violence and hatred against each other. 

“When a child is young, he/she begins to be told Turkanas or Pokots are bad. It may or may not be true, but it is not worth teaching children,” the Local Ordinary of Lodwar since his Episcopal Ordination in June 2022 said, adding, “Let's learn now to show our children the alternative.”

The violent conflict between members of the Turkana and Pokot pastoral communities is protracted, with the Shalom Conflict Centre attributing clashes to territorial and border disputes, and competition over pasture and other resources.

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