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Senate urged to resolve Pokot and Turkana border dispute

The Senate

The Senate has been urged to fast track resolution of border disputes between Pokot and Turkana counties in order to bring stability to the devolved units and thereby attract local and foreign investments.

The aggrieved counties have further been advised to resolve their differences in accordance with the Constitution to avert more damage.

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Speaking after holding a closed door meeting with Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Dr. Abdi Hassan on Wednesday in Nakuru, members of Turkana Community in Diaspora Association said both the Pokot and Turkana county governments ought to seek a lasting solution by petitioning the Senate to shed light on the issue.

Through their spokesman Mr. Justus Ekeno the group observed that the Constitution gives the counties a forum to seek a solution from the Senate, which is bestowed with mechanisms instead of engaging in killings and destruction of property.

“The locals involved should end the vice and address their concerns through the Constitution. After 60 years of independence, Kenyans should not be killing each other due to boundary issues. The Constitution is clear that the Senate has the wherewithal to solve the stalemate as per the law,” he said.

The incessant conflicts between Pokot and Turkana communities have been attributed to the long standing boundary and resource tussle in the area.

Pokot community has been laying claim to land in Lami Nyeusi area, which emanates from Marich Pass area, 194 kilometers to Lodwar and Kainuk that is joined with the Turkwel River, which is rich with fertile soils that have seen Non-Governmental organizations attempt to woo both parties to subsistence farming.

Areas around Turkwel, including Amolem, Takaywa, Sarmach, Nyangaita, Alale, Lokiriama and Ombolion are among the worst hit by conflicts over the Lami Nyeusi dispute.

Turkana leaders on the other hand are battling it for land situated in Kapedo.

Leaders from Baringo East have constantly claimed that Kapedo and Lomelo regions belong to them, but have been annexed unfairly by the Turkana community.

Mr Ekeno indicated that local leaders from the two communities must understand that colonial demarcations still exist but, more importantly, there existed county boundaries, which recognize all people within the county irrespective of tribes.

The conflicts have also been attributed to slow development pace in the semi-arid counties with investors shying away from the region due to high levels of insecurity.

The spokesman called on leaders from both communities to desist from issuing negative press statements that could undermine various peace initiatives rolled out in the North Rift Region.

“We ought to watch what we say as leaders so as not to aggravate the peace that we often seek. Negative statements and bad publicity tend to scare away investors hence retarding development,” Mr Ekeno added.

The Association further condemned Uganda Military for arresting 32 pastoralists and sending them to jail.

The Members said to stave off an imminent diplomatic spat between the two countries, President William Ruto should move swiftly and secure the release of those jailed.

The protest came after a Ugandan military court sent to prison 32 Kenyans after they were allegedly found in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition in the northeastern sub-region of Karamoja.

According to an article by Xinhua, the Ugandan Military said the pastoralists   were arrested in an operation on April 8, where 31 guns and 751 rounds of ammunition were recovered.

“They are subject to the ongoing disarmament operations in the Karamoja sub-region and national laws of the Republic of Uganda,” said the statement.

The group was arraigned in the 3rd Division Military Court Martial based in Moroto District in the Northern region.

Xinhua’s article indicates the 32 were convicted on two counts, illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of ammunition, each carrying a sentence of 10 years. The convicts will serve their sentences consecutively.

According to Ugandan military law, any person found in possession of military weapons, equipment or ammunition is subjected to and tried by the court martial.

Reporting by Dennis Rasto

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