Effects of Farmer-Herder Conflicts on Socio-Economic Development of the Local Communities in Mutitu Sub County of Kitui County, Kenya 1963-2013

  • Winnifred Mwikali PhD student at the School of Arts & Social Sciences - Moi University, P.O. Box 3900, Eldoret-30100
  • Diperus Wafula PhD student at the School of Arts & Social Sciences - Moi University, P.O. Box 3900, Eldoret-30100
Keywords: Conflict, Farmer-Herder, Mutitu Sub County, Socio-Economic Development


Three words, displacement, destitution and death, summarize what is happening in Mutitu Sub County of Kitui County. Recurrent farmer-herder conflicts have been a feature of the region since pre- colonial period. The participants have been the Akamba farmers and Somali and/or Orma herders. In the post-independent era their frequency has intensified. As a result, they have undermined efforts to increase food production in the region. As such, the conflicts have negatively impacted on communities’ livelihoods as well as national stability and development, as the atmosphere they have created has in the long run lowered the quality of life of the resident communities in the study area. In view of this, Peaceful coexistence must thus be sought after by all means. To achieve this, there is need to integrate resident communities to partner with the government and other stakeholders in order to reverse the status quo to the benefit of the resident communities. The objective of the study was to examine the effect of the farmer-herder conflicts on the socio-economic development of the local communities in Mutitu Sub County. The study was guided by the theory of structural violence by John Galtung it illuminates how structural inequalities lead to conflict which systematically deny some people their basic human needs which in turn undermine their socio-economic development. Simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample of 200 respondents. Purposive sampling procedure was then used to select key informants who included; community members, community elders, members of the Area Peace Development committees, state security agents, Non Governmental Organizations and religious leaders. The study used Questionnaire, interview schedules, FGDs and archival sources to get Primary data. Document analysis was done to give secondary data related to the study. The data was then analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results were presented in narration form. The study  found out that the farmer-herder conflict led to many effects which in turn have led to loss of livelihoods hence, undermining socio-economic development of local communities in Mutitu Sub County of Kitui County. It is expected that the outcomes of this study will go a long way into building the historiography on conflicts in Kenya, East Africa and the continent as a whole, inspiring other scholars and researchers and acting as reference resource book for other scholars.


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