A solution to elusive peace which has haunted Marsabit county residents for decades seems to be in the offing after communities through representatives started the journey of developing a road map towards that end.
The process which is being spearheaded by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has brought on the table representatives of the Borana and Gabra communities to deliberate on ways of ending animosity between them.
NCIC Commissioners Dr Danvas Makori and Abdulaziz Farah said yesterday during the opening of a two-day induction workshop for the Marsabit peace process committee members that lack of peace has been too costly for the region and called on Marsabit residents to support the initiative.
Dr Makori said even development partners like the European Union (EU) were concerned over the fluid security situation in Marsabit and urged the pastoralist communities to shun tribal and clan hatred for improved standards of living.
The commissioner added that the conflict pitting the two communities had cost the county much in terms of lives and development but expressed optimism for a solution to the problem after leaders from the ethnic groups committed to the peace process.
Dr Makori disclosed that NCIC had embarked on a six-month arrangement in which a sustained effort to build trust and dependence among the residents would be undertaken.
According to Mr. Abdulaziz, the frequent conflicts and clashes over issues that were not yet clear between the two had painted the county in bad light leading to slow development and poor standards of living.
He condemned the senseless killings in attacks and revenge attacks and reminded residents that the solution to the problem which has not only impended on growth but scared away investors rests in their hands.
The commissioner welcomed the political truce reached between top leaders in the county who include Governor Mohamud Ali and Treasury cabinet secretary Ukur Yattani.
“I am calling on members of this committee to realize that they are the trusted ambassadors of peace in the county,” said Abdulaziz adding that every effort would be applied to ensure the team gets it right this time.
Noting that water shortage was the main concern for Marsabit County residents, Abdulaziz regretted that the multi-million Badassa dam projects had stalled because local leaders lacked unity for self-political gain.
He said that communities have been at war with each other hence compromising the much-desired environment for investment and development.
The peace building process is also being supported by Marsabit interfaith council and local NGOs that include Kivulini Trust and the Drylands Learning and Capacity Building Initiative.
By Sebastian Miriti