Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to urgently address demands by Turkana leaders and residents and bring to an end protests that have paralysed oil operations and transportation in the county.
The demands include assuring residents of their security and that of their livestock, ensuring livestock stolen in various raids are recovered, implementation of a shoot-to-kill order on bandits and giving locals a fair share of jobs and tenders.
Since Wednesday, the residents have blocked five oil trucks destined for Changamwe Refinery in Mombasa at Kalemngorok on the Lokichar-Kapenguria highway, staging protests at Africa Camp Solutions where many employees of the oil firm reside. On Friday, they broke into Ngamia 8 oil storage sites where President Uhuru launched the historic Early Oil Pilot Scheme by flagging off oil trucks to make Kenya an oil producing country.
"Because of the importance of oil in the country's future economy, I expect President Kenyatta or his Deputy William Ruto to listen to the residents of Turkana. Oil is a curse in the entire African continent, with each producing country having major conflicts. We want Kenya to go down in history as the only peaceful oil producing country in Africa by taking care of every stakeholder, especially the community where oil is produced." Mr Wetang'ula said.
He said Turkana residents should move from disgrace to grace, from abject poverty to absolute wealth.
The Bungoma senator was speaking during the burial of Ms Hellen Mzee, a Ford Kenya supporter, in Kakuma on Saturday.
Having travelled by road from Lodwar to Kakuma, he said the road was under construction but not to the standards expected of a region with huge oil deposits. "I took three hours at a section that would have taken an hour," he said.
Speaking separately in Lokichar, Turkana South MP James Lomenen and his Turkana East counterpart Mohammed Ali Lokiru said oil operations and transportation would be halted until the fresh demands are addressed.
Turkana County Commissioner Seif Matata said his team has stationed two specialised police units at Lokori, Kamuge, Lomelo, Kapedo and Napeitom to tackle banditry and bolster security.”