Turkana County was host to five Governors and elected leaders from the North Rift Economic Block (NOREB) during the second day of a peace drive in a region that has witnessed perennial conflicts.
Governors Josphat Nanok of Turkana and Prof. John Lonyang’apuo of West Pokot who on Saturday led the peace talks with other elected leaders, community representatives and reformed warriors from Pokot and Turkana, were joined by Governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Stanley Kiptis (Baringo), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Stephen Sang (Nandi) in Kainuk for a peace rally.
The governors stressed the need to end conflicts witnessed along the Turkana-Pokot, Turkana-Baringo borders and Kerio Valley.
“From the meetings held, we have identified some causes of the conflicts which we have since solved. We shall however hold additional meetings to resolve the pending issuses and come up with a lasting solution,”said Governor Nanok.
Nanok however urged the security forces not to hesitate in taking action on issues like highway robberies and livestock theft that has been a perennial issue in the area.
Governor Nanok and Governor Lonyang’apuo proposed revamping of Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) under Noreb as a vehicle for economic development of North Rift counties.
The two governors later launched a joint livestock vaccination exercise to be undertaken for the next two months in border of Turkana and West Pokot.
Governor Mandago, who chairs Noreb, pledged to bring together leaders from the regions that had experienced perennial conflicts of Turkwel belt, Turkana-Baringo border and Kerio Valley.
Governor Sang called on the national government to disburse the equalisation fund for regions that had lagged behind in development to catch up with the rest of Kenya.
Governor Tolgos said that counties in North Rift were blessed with vast natural resources which he stressed if exploited well would lead to great progress of people living in the region.
Governor Kiptis called for involvement of community elders in search for peace and insisted culture and joint recreational activities should play a role in reconciliation while Turkana Senator Prof. Malachy Ekal on his part said the fresh push for peace had to be genuine.
“These peace talks have to be true and we will tell our people to go back to till their farms and graze their livestock without fear. From then we will know whether these talks were true or not,” he said adding that true peace would be achieved only after the recognition of true borders of contested lands.
Turkana South MP James Lomenen asked residents to adhere to agreement to end killings.
Loima MP Jeremiah Lomurkai hailed the new wave of peace talks which he said had showed signs of bearing fruit and expressed optimism that the bill in the Senate on county boundaries would resolve cases of land encroachment; the biggest cause of conflicts.
Turkana East MP Ali Lokiru called for similar talks to resolve conflict at border with Baringo which he said was still a big issue while Lobokat Ward MCA David Erukudi lauded the fresh approach to bring peace and asked leaders to walk the talk of reconciliation.