Devolution and ASALs Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Petroleum and Mining CS John Munyes, Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok and senate majority Leader Samuel Poghisio on Sunday led celebrations to commemorate the first anniversary of the Kenya-Uganda MOU on cross-border peace and development.
The MOU was signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and President Uhuru Kenyatta last September in Uganda.
The leaders commissioned the Sh16.5 million Urum water reticulation Peace Dividend Project a partnership by the County Government, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with technical assistance from the Ministry of Devolution and ASALs.
Governor Nanok said the project was a beginning of reaping fruits of the MOU and termed it a demonstration of the productive partnership between governments to meet communities’ needs.
He said the community had identified water shortage as its biggest problem which prompted President Uhuru Kenyatta to direct construction of dams in Turkana, West Pokot, Marsabit, Samburu and Baringo.
On the Sh250 million strategic and multipurpose dam set to be constructed in Namoni-ang’ikaala in Loima, CS Wamalwa assured that a team of experts from the Ministry of Water will visit the area to iron out technical aspects before construction begin.
He explained that the project, a dividend for cross-border peace, was meant to replicate a similar investment by the Government of Uganda in Kobebe which has benefited communities on both sides of the Kenya and Uganda border.
To address the challenge of insecurity raised by residents of Urum, the CS promised to bring Interior CS Dr. Fred Matiangi on board to assess the situation and explore a possibility for establishing police posts in vulnerable areas. The CS announced that his Ministry, through the peace programme, will construct a peace school for communities in the area.
The Governor called for the National Government to fast-track construction of the Namoni-ang’ikaala dam to end conflict for water by pastrolists in the area.
Munyes expressed concern over failure by the county government to invest in major dams instead of water pans which have not managed to resolve the water challenge in the county.
“The county government should allocate more resources to construct major dams like the one in Uganda. We have no reason why we should be left behind and have our pastrolists migrating to Uganda in search of water,” Munyes said.
Nanok cautioned aspirants against causing disharmony within the County Government and called for objective issue-based politics. He stated that all leaders with positions in government and holding elective seats, had a responsibility to deliver to the public and will be measured on their performance rather than empty rhetorics.
On the BBI report, the Governor declared that Turkana leaders were reserving judgement on calls for a referendum until the final report is released. He cautioned against blind support for proposals whose contents have not been seen.
UNDP Chief Technical Advisor for Cross-border Programme in Kenya Dr Asfaw Kumsa said they will endeavour to partner with the government to invest in additional water projects to meet demand by residents.
County Executive for Water, Environment and Mineral Resources Chris Aletia announced that the County was drilling an additional borehole to compliment the Urum water project launched on Sunday.
By Peter Gitonga