Resource sharing and border rows top Truth agenda - Daily Nation

Resource sharing and border rows top Truth agenda

Wednesday October 12 2011

By BARNABAS BII [email protected]

Unequal sharing of services, boundaries and disarmament were cited by a councillor as contentious issues during the Truth team hearings in Turkana County.

Humanitarian organisations in the area, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme, were accused by nominated councillor John Aule of giving priority to refugees in giving aid while ignoring the local people.

“It is unfair for the humanitarian bodies and even the government to provide vital services like health, water, housing and schools to refugees at Kakuma while the local people live in abject poverty,” Mr Aule said.

Employment opportunities

He called for equal sharing of resources and employment opportunities between the refugee and the local community.

The Kakuma Refugee Camp has more than 10 humanitarian agencies and is home to more than 70,000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi.

He told the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission team, led by Prof Tom Ojienda, that the government needed to resolve the boundary disputes with Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia, which he blamed for conflicts over water and pasture among pastoralists from the four neighbouring countries.

“The boundary from Kibish to Lake Turkana on the Ethiopia border, Nadapal with South Sudan and parts of the frontier with Uganda need to resolved to facilitate harmonious relations and facilitate trade,” Mr Aule proposed.

He blamed renewed fights between members of the Turkana and Pokot on land ownership disputes following the carving out of Kacheliba, which was the administrative centre of Turkana, to West Pokot County.

The residents also protested over alleged poor distribution of levies paid by the Turkwel Hydroelectric Power Station between Turkana and West Pokot counties.

They claimed that West Pokot was receiving a larger portion of revenues from the power plant, which is located on the border of the two counties.

The team was told that disarmament operations to mop up illegal arms would bring an end to the protracted cattle raids and bandit attacks between herders in the two neighbouring counties.

Similar operations, they added, also needed to be carried out in the neighbouring countries of Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

The residents attributed the escalation of insecurity in parts of the North Rift to proliferation of small and light weapons.