Sengwer Community – Challenges


  • The community does not have any representation in mainstream politics which have disadvantaged them since they seem to have no power or say. The community has not been involved in all areas of decision making that affect them directly or indirectly, for instance the County Security and Environmental Committees just to mention a few are areas that the community have been denied involvement. Dominant tribes have representatives in those departments among others, the voice of indigenous Sengwer is never heard.
  • Sengwer community members are struggling to ensure that their lands are degazzeted from being a forest to communal land.
  • Human rights violations frequently occur in the area. The violations involve destruction of property as well as arrest and killing of members of the Sengwer community. Robert Kirotich was killed on the 16th of January 2018 while looking after his cattle in Kepkok glades. David Kipkosgei was shot leaving him crippled. The community is currently facing further human rights violations e.g. forceful evictions out of the community forest without their consent. The areas affected include Kapkanyar and Kipteber which were gazetted in 1967.
  • Discrimination against the Sengwer in recruitment is also still carried out in the counties.
  • Teenage pregnancies and early marriages continue to be a prevalent issue in the Sengwer Community.
  • Problem with access to water still persists. Most water points are shared with animals who make it dirty and consequently make it not fit to be used by humans.
  • The impacts of COVID-19 have consequently caused men to be overly stressed such that they have to turn to alcohol for comfort leading to a lot of men becoming drunkards. Drunkenness of the men consequently stirs up gender based violence in the homes.
  • Deforestation around Cherengani area that affects access to water within the community.
  • Lack of recognition as a tribe. The Sengwer only have a population and census Code. They however, do not have an identity code number and have not been listed among Kenyan tribes hence,are systematically being assimilated by the dominant tribes. Formal recognition of Sengwer as a tribe means that the Sengwer will have their ancestral lands in and out of protected area recognized and protected. Further, recognition of Sengwer will ensure that we shall be listed as tribes by Public Service Commission for consideration during employment an d to benefit from other government services such as education and economy as enshrined in Article 56 of the Constitution of Kenya.