CS Eugene Wamalwa (seated, left) during the event. PHOTO/COURTESY
BY MARTIN BABU
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni yesterday witnessed the historical signing of a peace deal towards the joint development of the marginalised Turkana-Pokot-Karamoja region along the border of the two countries.
The two Heads of State shook hands at Naitakwae Playgrounds in Moroto, in the Ugandan side of the border, after witnessing the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for Cross-Border Peace and Development on the border.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Uganda’s Minister for Karamoja Affairs John Byabagambi signed the agreement in front of the two leaders and hundreds of top government officials from both countries. For years the communities have fought each other over pasture and cattle in conflicts that have often led to deaths.
President Uhuru Kenyatta hailed the peace initiative saying the historic signing of the MOU is significant for spearheading development and economic stability within the Moroto Pokot and Turkana communities.
“This agreement will help us ensure long-lasting peace for our people. It is not only about peace but sustainable development,” said President Kenyatta.
President Uhuru stressed the need to open border roads to propel economic prosperity saying the artificial borders were only the creation of colonialist but the two countries are committed to open up the Border line for wealth creation and poverty eradication among the three communities.
On his part, President Museveni said his administration had initiated a range of projects aimed at improving the economy of the region saying it was the only to ensure the lives of the residents get services that will attract development in the region.
The Ugandan leader singled out reforms at the Port of Mombasa which he said have greatly improved the efficiency of processing and evacuation of Ugandan exports and imports respectively.
On regional connectivity infrastructure, President Museveni called for UN involvement in lobbying donor institutions and development partners to support more regional and inter-country roads.
West pokot governor John Lonyangapuo said the deal puts to end the retrogressive culture of cattle rustling to an end and the three communities will continue to foster peace and development together so that the communities benefit from the projects.