FMI partner works for reconciliation between Kenyan tribes

By December 22, 2021

Kenya (MNN) — In Kenya, the Luo tribe and the Kalenjin tribe have feuded for over a decade. Young men from the Kalenjin tribe have stolen hundreds or even thousands of cows, and the Luo people have retaliated against them. Several people have died.

In rural Kenya, especially among the Kalenjin tribe, a rite of passage for a young man is to bring a cow back to his family. Typically, they work to save up money and buy one.

Political influence

But corrupt leaders have used this rite of passage to convince young men to steal cows from their neighboring tribes, Bruce Allen with FMI says, “It’s even involving local politicians that are very corrupt, paying the youths to perpetrate these thefts. So then they bring the cow back to these corrupt politicians, and the politicians may present them to the families.”

The rustlers sometimes steal $5,000 worth of cows per night. Allen says, “In the Kenyan economy, that’s huge. So there’s a big economic impact. There’s political fallout because of these corrupt authority figures as well.

As the Luo people retaliate, Allen says, “It’s now not just an individual young cattle wrestler going out, but they’ve had to band together for their own security.  It’s really a gang effort now.”

Allen says, “They’ve taken to even going so far as announcing their intentions to a family. Before they come, they’ll say, ‘Hey, we’re going to come into your neighborhood tonight. And we’re going to take your cattle.’ It’s just escalated to the point of intertribal warfare.”

Pastor Felix

Pastor Felix, an FMI partner, has planted a church among his fellow Luo people. But he has a vision for a reconciliation between the Luo and the Kalenjin. Allen says, “He’s been involved in trying to organize soccer tournaments. He recruits players from both sides of these areas so that they get to know each other and get to respect each other, even playing on the same teams so that they’re looking out for their teammates. He’s been involved in tree planting projects in the grasslands.”

Early next year, Pastor Felix will receive packets of cards from FMI, explaining the story of Jesus in a Kenyan context.

Pray for peace between these tribes. Ask God to bring a work of new creation out of this conflict, and all the destruction it has caused.

 

 

The header image shows Pastor Felix. (Photo courtesy of FMI)