For ages, peace has been a myth in West Pokot County due to persistent water shortage and limited pasture leading to inter-communal conflicts which at times, turn deadly.
The Kshs. 250 million Kasses Peace Dam in Pokot North which is now complete is being backed to bring truce between Pokots and Turkanas on the Kenyan side and the Karamoja in Uganda who for a long time, have been at war, effectively hurting livestock keeping which is a core economic activity in the region.
The multi-million shillings project stems from the peace initiative signed between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart, President Yoweri Museveni in Moroto in 2019.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa while inspecting the project noted that the dam will put an end to resource-based conflicts and also enable communities who have been migrating to Uganda in search of water to have permanent residence.
“We hope by August this dam will be full. This is important to us because we are preparing for the second anniversary of the Moroto Accord in September. We will have communities both on Kenya and Uganda side, about 3km from here equally benefiting from this dam the way they have been benefiting from Kobebe Dam in Uganda,” said CS Wamalwa.
The government is similarly constructing two other peace dams in Turkana and Marsabit counties which are expected to play a big role in providing access to clean water and maintaining peace in the region during dry season when conflict over intensifies.
“The dam has been fully finance by the Government of Kenya. It will hold 1.2 billion litres of water and will help communities in this ASAL region. The dam is also well fenced to ensure it is protected and 9000 are expected to benefit,” added Micah Powon, Principal Secretary Devolution and ASALs.
Emmanuel Robore, a Kasses resident says they are happy to see the project completed and will be of help to their animals and domestic use.
He says for a long time they have been moving with their animals to Uganda where they are exposed to conflicts where many lost their lives and livestock.
Veronica Lekuta says they used to walk for 10 kilometers to Uganda searching water but they are happy to see the government listened to their demands.
She expects the project to not only support livelihoods but promote tourism and development as well as protect women young girls who have often fallen victims of early marriages and unplanned pregnancies.
She however says the Dam will cement the end of cattle rustling where the border community has been losing its stocks to the neighboring communities.