Leaders from the Ateker ethnic group of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya have vowed to work jointly to end cattle rustling menace in the region.
Governor Jeremiah Ekamais Lomorukai reiterated his stand on peaceful coexistence across the four countries that he said will pave the way for development and industrialization of the region.
While addressing leaders at the Headquarters of Abim district in Karamoja region, Lomurukai said that the proliferation of small arms in the region has contributed to poverty, illiteracy, backwardness, loss of lives and property, thus calling on the leadership to put more effort to end it.
Karamoja Cultural Day ceremony brought together thousands of people including the Turkana from Kenya, Toposa from South Sudan, Karamojong among others.
The Governor said that his major objective was to work round the clock to bring peace across the borders and allow the people to enjoy and share natural resources. He said the region is endowed with natural resources that need serious investments for the benefit of the people.
He said it was meaningless to have close blood ties between Turkana and Jie while both are causing disharmony in the region. “It is very sad and disheartening,” he said.
He said Tobongu Lore Festival will be renamed Turkana Cultural Festival in the near future and promised to revive and revamp Lokiriama peace accord and Moru Anayece commemorations to promote peace.
He at the same time called on the region’s leaders to hold joint peace events to speak directly and engage cattle rustlers to help end the practice.
While on a stopover in Kotido, the Governor urged Jie leadership to embrace peace and give priority to education, cross border trade, infrastructural development and provision of essential social services to the people.
He asked the leaders to avoid glorifying illicit arms trade or cattle rustling, which he said should be shunned by all to change the mindset of the people for better livelihoods. He reiterated his commitment to end conflict in the region to give development a chance.
Other leaders who spoke and present from Uganda were Chairperson of Karamoja Parliamentary Group and MP Chekwi Remigo Achia, Woman MP Okorimoe Janet (Abim), MP Norman Ochero (Abim), MP Komol Joseph Miidi (Dodoth North), Lokii Peter Abrahams (Jie County), Resident District Commissioner of Abim Shilaku James, Resident District Commissioner Okiria Chris Mike (Kaabong), LC 5 Chairpersons Meri Jino (Kaabong) and Omara Yuventine (Abim) among others.
Present were also Toposa and Nyangatom leadership from Eastern Equatoria State and Ethiopia respectively. Former MP Paul Napwon led the Toposa leadership. Turkana South MP-Elect John Namoit Ariko led elected leaders and revealed his readiness to support other regional leaders in the quest for peace across international borders.
By Peter Gitonga