Revival of kraal elders meetings necessary for cross border peace

The Turkana County and Uganda Governments have agreed to document the socio-economic migratory patterns of Turkana pastoralists entering Uganda to contain and monitor the irregular movements and de-escalate the current raids along the border.

This will also include taking proper data entry of livestock, people as well as minimize the movements of kraals especially around Kaabong area through a joint venture from both communities.

This free entry and movements according to Ugandan authorities have overstretched their resources especially water, and grazing fields calling for the two governments to pool resources for these provisions.

In a meeting held at Kotido in Uganda on Saturday, the two sides also agreed to immediately form a joint technical team to expedite the formation and revival of Kraal elders meetings to mitigate the current raids among the Turkana and Dodoth pastoralists that has previously resulted to deaths and animosity.

These elders meetings are key in peace negotiations among the communities. The absence of Kraal elders meetings has been blamed for the escalating insecurity between Turkana and Dodoth in Kaabong region that has been driven by conflict over pasture and water.

The technical team will also review agreements so far entered among the communities like Nabulatuk Resolution and make them biding.

The Turkana County Deputy Governor, Peter Lotethiro and Senator Prof. Malik Ekal led a high powered delegation from Turkana County comprising of leaders across the political divide and National security arm for a cross border leaders peace meeting at Kotido in Uganda.

The Uganda team comprising of political leaders and kraal elders was led by John Bagatagambi, Minister for Karamoja Affairs.

The County peace team was headed by the County Secretary, Peter Eripete and Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro who outlined the steps Turkana County government is putting in place to ensure peace prevails along the border through strengthening of the liaison officers from both sides to deal with any eventualities. This, he said, will enable effective communication of theft reports to and from Liaison officers that assist in faster recovery of stolen animals.

Speaking at the meeting, Lotethiro said the two communities should embrace dialogue for the sake of peaceful co-existence and development. He called on leaders and the people of Kaabong to give negotiation space to enable teams find a lasting solution.

He said, the county will take it a notch higher to dialogue and sensitize the Turkana pastoralists to comply with Uganda laws of total compliance to non- possession of guns on entry into Uganda.

In addition, county government has fully agreed for formal vetting and clearance exercise to all Turkana pastoralists seeking to cross into Uganda for pasture and water. But he added that cases of some few individuals found stealing cows should separately be treated as criminals and not generalize the whole community.

This will also help to avoid mistaken identities of culprits, random and forceful recovery of stolen animals from other innocent community members.

Turkana county government will also work with Uganda Government on regular joint vaccinations programme as a means of controlling animal diseases and fostering peace and cohesion along the border communities.

Minister Bagatagambi for the Uganda side, said insecurity issues in Kaabong which is the most affected area by the current raids is unique and require special attention and a lasting solution.

The entry of Turkana pastoralists with guns to Uganda, threatens peace through attacks and stealing of animals. And this is contrary to the Uganda law on possession of arms and Turkana’s must comply, he said.

The County Commissioner, Seif Matata said the Kenyan government had embarked on peaceful disarmament to foster peace along the borders.

Source: Kenya News Agency