Governor Nanok Leads a Kenyan Delegation to Uganda on a Peace Mission.
Governor Josphat Nanok of Turkana and the current Chairman of the Council of Governors has led a Kenyan delegation comprising of Members of Parliament and a cross section of County Executive Members from both Turkana and Pokot counties to Uganda to negotiate on a peaceful coexistence among the pastoral communities living along the Ugandan –Kenyan border neighboring the Karamoja region on the northern side of both countries.
Governor Nanok alongside his West Pokot counterpart, Professor John Lonyang’apuo today met both the Ugandan Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda and the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Eng. John Byabagambi to discuss on the issues of increased tensions and the recently renewed attacks between the Karamojong’ and Turkana.
The meeting is meant to cement the already established relations between the two countries especially in this region so as to strengthen collaboration and cooperation in the spirit of East Africa to allow our citizens especially the Pastoral groups to move freely in search of pasture and water for their animals.
Eng. Byabagambi, acknowledged the growing tensions in the Karamoja region bordering Turkana due to cattle rustling but maintained that within the East African protocol, the Turkana and other Kenyans would be allowed to graze their animals inside Uganda but if only they don’t enter the country with their firearms.
He attributes the conflict highly to the state of affairs on the side of Kenya that he alleges has guns in the hands of civilians.
Governor Nanok, acknowledged and thanked President Yoweri Museveni and the whole leadership of the region for their generous gesture of allowing Turkana community to move into Uganda with their animals for pasture and water.
Governor Nanok enumerated on the many advantages on the good relations that have enhanced trade between Moroto and Lodwar but felt the only setback was the triangle between Kenya and Uganda on the South Sudan border where the peace process is threatened by the unstable state of affairs in that country.
Governor Nanok also urged the Ugandan government to help return the Turkana children reported to have been abducted.
“We ask the Ugandan government to assist the Turkana families here to get their children back because such situation can only aggravate and worsen the already sensitive situation.
Nanok said the trade between Kenya and Uganda would account to 40 per cent of Trade in Lodwar and said it would not be good to interrupt such great achievements with occasional conflicts.
Reacting to the issues raised against Senator Malachy Ekal of Turkana where he is alleged to have breached protocol in one of the earlier meeting in Karamoja region, Nanok said, “politicians can say anything trying to speak for their people, but most important for such a delicate peace process is to stay focused”.
Reported also is the increased donkey theft due to the high demand from the Chinese market.
There was a feeling for the need of military participation in the cross border peace process also from the Kenyan side which leaders said is conspicuously missing.
Governor Lonyang’apuo reiterated the need for the two countries to collaborate to see how water and pastures can be given to the pastoralists along the common borders.
IGAD representative in this meeting from the Ugandan office reported that three mega dams were in the plan as cross border projects for this region to ease water burdens for the pastoralists.The political leaders present from Kenya and Uganda indicated the need for political good will in the peace process. Speaking on behalf of the Kenyan MPs, Hon Christopher Nakuleu said political leaders have a key role in building peace because politicians interact with the people and the people listen to their political leaders.
The lady Member of Parliament from Kaabong, , impressed that there was need for women to participate on the peace process challenging the Kenyan delegation that had only one lady on the team.
Hon. Nakuleu apologized on behalf of the Kenyan Senator.
“Whatever happened with the incident concerning the Senator Ekal is an isolated and very unfortunate case , I want to register an apology on his behalf as a fellow member of Parliament”, said Hon. Nakuleu.
Resolutions have been reached to implement joint cross border projects ranging from opening up roads, providing water and pasture, enhancing trade by encouraging Border customs control posts being established to improving security situation in the area.
Among those who attended the meeting are Members of Parliament from Kenya Hon. Christopher Nakuleu, Hon. James Lomenen, Hon. Jeremiah Lomurukai, Hon. Daniel Epuyo, the Kenyan High Commissioner, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Okanga in Uganda and two MPs from Uagndan side, Hon. Samson Lokeris for Dodoth and Rose Akelllo of Kaabong among many others drawn from the executive teams from both Turkana and West Pokot counties including those from the Ugandan government side.
The next meeting to strengthen these relations would be between the Kenyan Minister for interior and the Karamoja Affairs scheduled to take place in February at a venue yet to be decided upon.