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Maasai Community Demonstrations over SGR jobs

Yesterday I was held up in a man-made traffic jam at Suswa, a small trading center along Narok-Mai Mau road.

A huge crowd of Maasai community youths, men and women barricaded the road with heavy stones and burning tires in their quest for justice after one of their kinsman was shot by the police.

This happened on 6th January 2018 during a procession when the demonstrators were demanding to be offered jobs at the sites of the on-going construction of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

The rowdy crowd wanted to be given jobs such as drivers among others. After an 18 year-old man was shot they decided to barricade the road demanding that the police man who shot him must be arrested. The dialogue between the police, local leaders and angry residents went on for a record four (4) hours, in-attendance was local leaders such as Suswa MCA among others.

We’d started our journey at 6:00 am hoping to be in Nairobi by noon. This did not happen as fate had a lot more in store for us. We stayed around Suswa trading center from 12 noon to 4:00 pm (a total of 4 hours). Women with young children suffered the most as a result of that stalemate. They had to buy food from the local kiosks to feed their young child who were crying non-stop.

I was enraged by the way this event was reported by a local radio station. The broadcaster announced that the road has been closed at Suswa. She went a head to mention that this had had a great impact on tourist who were travelling from and to Maasai Mara game reserve.

She made it sound like the other travelers were not affected at all. For God’s sake, we were the majority. Our media houses must learn to report with accuracy and avoid segregation. Trying to make tourists look more important than the native Kenyans vexed the Kenyans in the matatu.

At the end of the news items, we were left cursing and fidgeting as a result of the way the traffic snarl-up was reported.

Transline Classic Buses stranded at Suswa after the blocking of road.
Transline Classic Buses with passengers stranded at Suswa after the blocking of road.
Photo. Stranded passengers along Narok-Mai Mahiu road
Photo. Stranded passengers along Narok-Mai Mahiu road

This is not the first time that the Suswa residents have barricaded the Narok-Mai Mahiu road. On December 29, 2017 at 9:00 PM, a bus belong to Otange killed 6 cows injuring 7 others. The residents barricaded the road and threw stones at motorists.

On November 2012, a van owned and operated by Royal Media Services was reported by the Star Newspaper to have killed 42 goats.

There are many such incidents which anger the local residents prompting them to barricade the road and demand for compensation.

From Kerosi Dotcom we urge all motorists to drive carefully, otherwise it can be costly in terms of life lost and economically.

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