Regional states in joint drive to end pastoralist clashes

Thursday September 22 2011

An immigration office is to be set up at Lokiriama to hasten free movement of traders from Turkana, Pokot and Uganda.

Photo/FILE In the past, Pokot pastoralists who had crossed into Uganda in search of pasture fled back to Kenya after the Uganda People’s Defence Force confiscated their livestock. An immigration office is to be set up at Lokiriama to hasten free movement of traders from Turkana, Pokot and Uganda.  

By BARNABAS BII [email protected] and BERNARD KWALIA [email protected]

A plan to end armed conflicts among pastoralists through trade has been mooted.

Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia intend to promote trade and hence uplift the socio-economic welfare of the pastoralists.

The plan was unveiled during a regional meeting held at Lokiriama in Loima District to kick-start the process.

East African Community minister Musa Sirma represented Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the Wednesday meeting also attended by governor of South Sudan’s Equatorial state Louis Lopong and Ugandan minister for State in charge of Mineral Development Peter Lokeis as well as retired president Daniel Moi.

Seizure of illegal guns

Mr Sirma said that an immigration office would be set up at Lokiriama to hasten free movement of traders from Turkana, Pokot and Uganda.

Mr Lopong called for joint seizure of illegal guns from pastoralists, saying insecurity was to blame for the slow trade and development among the pastoralists.

Mr Lokeis advocated inter-country support in mopping up illegal arms. He said criminals fled to neighbouring countries whenever there was disarmament in their country.

Mr Moi regretted the conflicts between the Turkana and the Pokot in which more than 20 people have been killed, including policemen, in the last two months.

The Todonyang’ also clashed with the Turkana and the Merille and Nyang’tom from Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian delegation, led by chief administrator Jinka Zone Getachew Toruchu, vowed to crack down on cattle rustlers. Several suspects have been arrested and arraigned in court, said Mr Toruchu.

Some of the stolen animals had been returned and three guns handed over to the Kenyan Government.

Others at the peace meeting were Labour minister John Munyes, assistant minister Josephart Nanok, provincial administrators and Pokot elders.

Mr Munyes, who is also the Turkana North MP, said numerous peace attempts by Turkana and Pokot leaders have not borne fruit.

He said he was sure that if he, Ekwe Ethuro, Mr Nanok, Samuel Poghisio, Mr Moi and other local leaders got together, they will address insecurity between the Turkana and the Pokot.