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Uganda, south Sudan and Turkana teams benchmarking tour of Namanga

Numerous efforts have in the past and are currently being made to ensure Turkana County co-exists peacefully with her international neighbours.

This is contrary to the view held that the county and the region has been neglected in regards to security matters.

Turkana County is bordered by Uganda to the West, South Sudan and Ethiopia to the north and northeast.

As a sign of the government and international peace actors among them AU, IGAD, EAC and other local NGOs commitment to peace, a peace caravan tour and peace conference for border communities on peaceful coexistence and regional integration was held June 28- July 4 with the aim of promoting learning form the Maasai (Maa) community of Kenya and Tanzania.

The Didinga, Toposa, Karamoja and Turkana communities were part of the delegates in the peace caravan.

The caravan was flagged off at Lodwar and progressed through Eldoret, Naivasha and ended up in Kajiado County where the two day conference was held.

The Ugandan delegation was taken to the Lokiriama peace accord monument where warring communities buried their weapons including guns, bows, arrows, and machetes among others.

The elders took time to narrate the history of the peace treaty between the Turkana and the Matheniko of Uganda signed in 1973 at Lokiriama, Loima Sub County.

The other Kenyan delegation travelled to Nadapal, to receive the South Sudan delegation.

Before proceeding to Namanga, the peace caravan was flagged off by Turkana governor Jeremiah Lomorukai in Lodwar. The elders and elected leaders deliberated on ways of promoting peaceful coexistence among the communities living along the international borders that evening before the teams’ departure the following morning.

The caravan was officially launched by Prime Cabinet secretary Musalia Mudavadi on July 2 at Namanga border.

Key dignitaries were Minister of State for East African community affairs, Uganda, Magode Ikuya, a representative of the AU Commission, representatives of the council of ministers of EAC, and a representative of South Sudan government Kuot Alith.

It culminated with a two day conference that sought to enable border communities (Ateker) to discuss the lessons learnt from the visit to the Maasai community and develop commitments and resolutions to achieve peaceful coexistence.

The participants committed to identify the real perpetrators of conflict and bring them into the peace building process and hold community engagement meetings to agree on best modalities to resolve conflicts amongst themselves.

They also urged the three governments to provide requisite resources to expedite the reaffirmation and demarcation of their boundaries.

To address conflicts over resources they resolved that the three countries should develop cooperation frameworks to improve infrastructure in the border area including the construction of road networks, one stop border posts, hospitals, schools, markets and support cross border livestock trade with a view to bringing development among the border communities to improve their socio economic welfare.

They also urged the South Sudan government to plan for and carry out a simultaneous disarmament programme of their respective communities as was the case of Kenya and Uganda.

The signatories to the document include Turkana County Secretary Peter Eripete, Akileo Peter Anyanga, the commissioner Budi county Eastern equatorial state Torit, Resident district commissioner Kotido Ambrose Onoria, Juster Nkoroi, head of Kenya International boundaries office, Kuot Jook Alith, head of legal administration Ministry of East Africa community affairs Juba, and Namanya Naboth, Commissioner, Production and Infrastructure ministry of EAC affairs Kampala.

By Peter Gitonga

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