The activity, ongoing at Naitakwae Play Ground in Moroto is expected to accord communities on the Kenya and Ugandan sides of the border opportunities for better co-operation, close coordination and peaceful coexistence. The MoU is also envisaged to bridge isolation gaps to improve livelihood and socio-economic conditions for sustainable peace and development in Karamoja, Turkana and West Pokot.
Some of the Turkana Men at Naitakwae Grounds in Moroto waiting for the MoU signing.
President Yoweri Museveni and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru
Kenyatta are slated to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to launch the joint
cross-border integrated programme for sustainable peace and social economic
transformation of the Turkana and West Pokot of Kenya and Karamoja in Uganda.
The memorandum is expected to accord communities on the Kenya
and Ugandan sides of the border opportunities for better co-operation, close
coordination and peaceful coexistence. The MoU is also envisaged to bridge
isolation gaps to improve livelihood and socio-economic conditions for
sustainable peace and development in Karamoja, Turkana and West Pokot.
Both regions are inhabited by pastoral communities from the
Turkana and Pokot from Kenya and Karimojong of Uganda that share the same
socio-cultural as well as dialectic roots. Pastoralism is the dominant socio-economic
activity and source of livelihood for most of the population. The area is
highly vulnerable to climatic variations such as drought that renders
communities perennially food-insecure and limits their livelihood options.
On the Ugandan side, these vulnerabilities were compounded,
in part, by colonial land policies such as gazettement of fertile grazing land
as wildlife conservation areas and forest reserves, accounting for 52.4% of the
total land area. During the dry season, the pastoralists are compelled to
migrate to other areas to access pasture and water points, often crossing
national and international boundaries.
Climatic variations and related
resource scarcities have led to frequent violent conflicts among the pastoral
communities, and often, with their non-pastoral neighbors. These conflicts are exacerbated by ethnic rivalries. According
to the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the insecurity further
restricts access to resources, threatening the livelihoods of communities
already vulnerable to drought.
However, despite alarming socio- economic indicators in the
two regions, they are endowed with vast resources and wealth. In
Karamoja, there are over 50 different economic minerals, including gold, silver,
copper, iron, gemstones, limestone and marble. This makes it one of the most
prospective areas of the country attracting over 20 foreign and Ugandan owned
companies conducting exploration and mining.
In Kenya, despite its huge potential in tourism, livestock
and minerals subsectors, Turkana and West Pokot Sub Regions contribution to the
national gross domestic product is still low at 1.8 percent. The signing of the MoU at Naitakwae Play Ground in Moroto
later today is expected to strengthen joint mechanisms for cross-border
peace building, community resilience, and conflict prevention, management and
It is also expected enhance investments and access to social
services in the Karamoja cluster with a focus on children, youth and women. The MoU is also expected to Increase collaboration in
sustainable environment and utilization of shared natural resources among
others. By the time of filing this story, a big delegation comprising
ministers, diplomats, legislators and local leaders from both regions had
arrived at the venue, awaiting the arrival of the two presidents.
function has, however, been delayed by the heavy downpour that has lasted more
than one hour.
Bureau Chief, Soroti
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