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Kenya-Ethiopia leaders resolve cross border conflict

Leaders from Turkana-Kenya and Ethiopia Dessanach and Nyang’atom have resolved to foster peace and development in their region to address perennial conflicts affecting the Communities along their common borders.

In a two days’ cross border intergovernmental Meeting held in Lodwar, the leaders agreed to use local mechanisms to address conflicts among the warring communities.

Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai has said that the approach involving community elders and religious leaders will play a significant role in addressing cross border conflicts among the border communities.

Lomorukai said that the Peace building initiatives have borne fruits for the Turkana, Dassenach and Nyangatom of Southern Ethiopia to co- exist peacefully.

In a speech read on his behalf by Peter Yoromoe the Turkana Chief of Staff, Governor Lomorukai said that the sub regional Government of the cross border area are also committed to support the peace building initiative by ensuring the teams meet regularly to lay the foundation for sustainable peace in the region.

“Peace is not only important for the sake of it, it is a necessary condition for promotion of trade, culture, tourism and other benefits between the Turkana of Kenya, Dassenach and Nyangatom of Ethiopia who also share cultural ties,” said the governor.

The head of the Ethiopian delegation Loree Kakuta said that the bulk of the conflict in the area could be attributed to scramble over pasture resources and lauded the elders for formulating a working sharing formula and a home grown model to settle conflicts.

According to Kakuta, the elders’ initiative was not only encouraging but also promising as it covered all aspects of pasture resources and included concerns of farmers in the area.

The forum also cited lack of administrators as a challenge for cross border peace coordination as Kenyan authorities promised to deploy an assistant chief in Kokuro and Merikuka to fix the challenge.

The County Directorate of Peace has also been mandated to hold regular community dialogues in Kokuro,Merukuka and Olegech with support of the National and County governments.

The forum also resolved to directly engage Government officers and Peace actors in cross border peace initiatives to harness peace activities on the common borders.

The meeting also agreed to sensitize the border communities on the benefits of promotion of cross border trade through intergovernmental engagement.

Other emerging issues include sensitizing the Kokuro community on the importance of identifying and reporting criminals from their midst.

The Directorate of Peace was also tasked to engage the communities in the conflict corridor and similar approaches were extended to (Nyomomeri, Salany and Danrich).

In their respective speeches, the two leaders formally recognized the “Ekisil Salaam” program run by PACT international for creating a framework within which the various players in the cross border peace building process could meet and discuss with a view of resolving issues.

Turkana County Director for Peace Building and Conflict Management Geoffrey Apedor has described the recently launched Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) Policy and Act 2022 as “sufficiently robust in enhancing efforts towards realization of lasting peace among local and cross-border communities in the region.

He added that the current peace building model was equally supplemented by yet a higher level of County peace building officers, National Government Administrators and Ethiopian authorities from the Dassenach and the Nyangatom regions.

According to Apedor, the cross border meetings also afforded the concerned communities an opportunity to analyse trends of conflicts and advise on mitigation measures. The view was fully supported by the Deputy County Commissioner of Kibish Mr Samuel Kiarie and DCC of Turkana North Daniel Omokhokho who were in attendance.

Richard Onyancha, whose organization facilitated the engagement in collaboration with the County Government divulged that PACT was working on strategies of strengthening both the grassroots upper levels of consultation in promoting sustainable peace in the area.

By Peter Gitonga

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