Turkana leaders want govt to play mediator - Capital News

Article published by Capital News on November 26, 2013 by Joseph Muraya
Turkana County Woman Representative Joyce Emanikor said on Tuesday that the National government should find a lasting solution to the incessant dispute from both Counties. “We need to speak with one voice,” she stated. Speaking to Capital FM News on Tuesday, Emanikor said the recent attack on the residents of Lorokon village was because of the scarce resources in the region. Emanikor added that neglect of the region could also have caused the insecurity problem. “The county had been left without any development; there was very little or minimal government presence and the rule of the jungle took over and this why we have this problem,” she said. She urged leaders from the region to avoid making statements that may worsen the situation. “During campaigns some politicians promised their voters that they could rescue them from their neighbors, return their land and so on,” she lamented. She added that “Lorokon area has a river passing across and is an area everyone wants to live around… the Pokot and Turkana claim it belongs on their side.” To fully resolve the issue, Emanikor said the government should conduct a disarmament exercise as part of the peace solution for the entire region. “In my considered opinion, the ultimate solution is disarmament and Uganda has succeeded in it,” she stressed. On the question of their lifestyle playing a role in the dispute, she said “It is not easy and it’s not even proper to change their lifestyle…we can only diversify.” She expressed optimism that a solution will be reached saying, “Resources discovered in Turkana West will address these issues…the insecurity mostly arise from resources.” [caption width="630" align="alignright"] Turkana West Member of Parliament Daniel Epuyo also urged the government to remunerate police reservists in the region to boost their morale in providing security[/caption] Turkana West Member of Parliament Daniel Epuyo also urged the government to remunerate police reservists in the region to boost their morale in providing security. He warned that some could decide to join militia men for lack of motivation and income in their services. “How do you work without even getting a token of appreciation?” he posed. He also asked the government to initiate an innovative way of maintaining peace since the recently launched community policing programme dubbed “Nyumba Kumi” may not address their issues. “We cannot even manage to meet the 10 people’s requirement in our region. We are talking of seven people per square Kilometer,” he pointed out. He added, “As good as Nyumba Kumi initiative may be, it may not address the issues in Turkana.” Supporting the call for disarmament, Epuyo cautioned that the process must be done professionally. “A gun is very tempting; the power it gives is the one confusing these people,” he said. This comes a few days after a village in Turkana was held hostage by militia for seven days. The situation has however resumed to normal. On Tuesday, the situation was returning to normal at the Lorokon village, according to Kenya Red Cross officials on the ground. Red Cross official continued with food and water distribution for the villagers who were under siege for seven days after being held hostage by armed militia amid a territorial dispute between two local communities. Kenya Red cross Assistant Secretary General Patrick Nyongesa told Capital FM News that the village residents had started resuming to their normal activities though under the watch of police officers deployed to the area. Sections of roads that had been barricaded have also been cleared allowing access to the village. On Monday, the government downplayed the insecurity situation between West Pokot and Turkana Counties saying there was no siege and that things were not as bad. Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku told journalists that facts surrounding the issue had been exaggerated by various reports saying the situation was under control. The rivalry between the Pokot and the Turkana has historically been based on land, pasture and water. There have also been reports that local politicians have been inciting the residents.