Scars of Conflict
A Young Girl’stale of the Maasai Clan Clashes and how they pushed her to become a peace champion.
As the heap of soil on her father’s grave sinks deeper into the ground, Mercy’s family forges into a future with profound memories. She doesn’t, however, have much strength to even get close to the gravesite. This, ‘is no such pleasant memory,’ She says. She describes him as ‘loving, caring and a pillar.’ Having gotten a child while in form 3, her father supported her to complete her high school studies. He provided everything for her and her baby. He himself had not gone much through school, but he encouraged Mercy and her siblings to value education.
As communities living within the Transmara West Sub-county of Narok County reel from the recent Inter Clan Clashes, many families struggle with the reality of having lost loved ones. One such is Mercy Paranai’s. Mercy is the 2nd born daughter in a family of 15. She is also also a young mother. Hers is a story of how the clashes, pitting the Uasin Gishu and Syria Maasai clans, have caused pains to the locals. Mercy’s Father was killed last year while on a mission to stop some youths from the two clans from fighting.
In September 2019, clashes broke out between two Maasai clans in the Transmara West Region. These clashes arose from border and land issues. As the disagreements brew, and on the fateful day, a group of young morans engaged in a battle that claimed the life of Mercy’s father. He was ambushed and shot using an arrow. He left behind two wives with 15 children.
Mercy used to work in a nearby school as an ECDE teacher but was forced to quit as the school was located within the Syria Clan. Her mother became the sole provider. She engages in small scale business activities in a nearby market. Mercy’s dream of pursuing further studies was cut short as the family was forced to adjust to the new reality of competing priorities.
Being a young person, Mercy says much needs to be done to ensure gender and youth integration in peace building efforts within the region. She explains that most youth in the area may not be having any other meaningful engagements that could deter them from the vice. This “makes them susceptible to exploitation by individuals who benefit from the clashes, some within the political class,” she adds.
Mercy joined the local peace networks within the area which work with ADS Kenya and the ACK Faith Church, Kilgoris to implement peace activities in the region. She says that when “all members of the society are engaged; we are able to embrace dialogue to address some of the issues that we are faced with.”