The Turkana county governor, Josphat Nanok and Kapoeta state governor, Louis Lojore Lobong co-chaired a joint meeting of senior government officials Saturday, where an agreement was reached to begin community sensitization on delimitation and demarcation exercise of the Kenya and South Sudan international border.
A day after the conclusion of the 5th edition of Tobong’u Lore festival, the leaders met to further discuss cross-border peace and security initiatives and address emerging issues between the Turkana and Toposa communities.
Nanok said there was need to speed up the sensitization drive meant to prepare communities for the delimitation and demarcation exercise, following the signing of an agreement between Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Salva Kir last July.
The MoU was later endorsed by Governors Nanok and Lobong. The Governors insisted on the involvement of sub-national governments and elected leaders from the region targeted by the sensitization.
Lobong said the successful implementation of the MoU was of interest especially to the two communities who are directly affected by the border dispute, while regretting that insecurity at the border had denied the area investment and development.
On security, Nanok admitted that the lack of security structures to enforce peace resolutions was a challenge faced by both Kapoeta and Turkana governments.
He said establishment of village councils through the recently signed, Village Administration Act will support efforts to end cattle theft.
The Turkana County Secretary, Peter Eripete proposed a meeting of business community from both sides to identify obstacles to cross-border trade, which will then be addressed by the respective governments.
Nanok directed the County Water Department to drill boreholes along the border, with the leaders agreeing that such resources will benefit both communities.
Also discussed was the mobilization of Turkana pastoralists who had crossed over to the South Sudanese side to return to Kenya for the national census set for August 24.
In the meeting was the county executive for Public Service and Disaster Management, Esther Lokwei, Chief of Staff Ekuwom Nakiporo, Senior Advisor on Security, Peace and Borderlands Initiatives, Augustine Lokwang and Directors Edward Lojore (Peace) and Tito Ochieng (Water Services).
The South Sudanese delegation included Advisor on Peace and Security, Albert Locheria, National MP for Kapoeta Emmanuel Epone among others.
By Peter Gitonga