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Elders want Maasai guards vetted

Maasai elders want police to vet all watchmen in Nairobi to ensure they are not accomplices of criminals.

The elders said there had been reports of people masquerading as Maasais to be employed as guards. They said the guards then work with thugs to rob residents.

The chairman of the Maasai Conservation of Culture and Heritage Centre, Peter Ole Saikata yesterday said such cases were soiling the name and culture of the community.

He asked Nairobians employing anyone claiming to be from the Maasai community to be vet them.

“There are those Maasai we call the Lasura who are mostly employed in the city because of their prowess in attacking enemies.

“Most of them are from Tanzania and they speak fluent Kiswahili. It has come to our understanding that thugs are now pretending to be them,” he said.

He said Maasai men leave Tanzania and enter Kenya through Namanga to look for jobs in Nairobi.

He also raised concern about people pretending to be Maasai herbalists and selling strange concoctions to Nairobians.

Late last year, the Maasai community paper, Shomo News reported that there was an exodus of men and morans from Olturmet in rural Arusha and Tarime District.

The paper reported that organisations running outreach programmes had only found women and children in homes and they had no one to protect them.

Mr Saikata’s call came as Nairobi county Police Commandant, Benson Kibui warned residents against  employing watchmen they knew nothing about.

“We must be very careful with the kind of people we employ guards and househelps. They must be vetted,” Mr Kibue said.

He admitted that they had received reports of guards who had been employed after pretending to be from the Maasai community.

“The criminals either have a network or are bribed by the robbers when they arrive at the gate. In most of the reported cases, the watchman was in touch with the robbers before they struck,” he said.

The warning from the police chief comes just two weeks after a group of 50 youths dressed in Maasai shukas raided St Charles Mutago School in Dagoretti, beat students and vandalised equipment.

A student, Isaac Lesiime, was killed during the raid. The next day, parents from the Maasai community denied the assailants were Maasai.