The Kenyan government has said that the cross-border peace agreement to be signed between Kenya and Uganda will benefit four million Pokot, Karamoja and Turkana people who inhabit the border area.
Kenya's Chief Administrative Secretary for Devolution and ASALs Hussein Dado said that the cross-border programme with Uganda dubbed “Karamoja Cluster” is geared towards achieving lasting peace between the two communities.
This, he said, will be through developing amicable resource-sharing mechanisms, joint infrastructure improvements, youth empowerment through entrepreneurship and employment as well as supporting cultural and intercommunity activities.
The region bore the brunt of isolation during the colonial era as it was considered a hardship area.
“These common factors should be a starting point of strength as the two governments strive to usher sustainable peace in the region,” said Mr Dado.
The Devolution CAS was speaking on Tuesday at Panafric Hotel in Kenya's capital Nairobi on the final day of the Joint Kenya-Uganda Technical Committee meeting on the proposed signing of the cross-border peace programme MoU.
The agreement is set to be signed later this month in Moroto, northeastern Uganda, and is expected to herald a series of joint cross-border activities up to the year 2023.
These include strengthening of peace committees, infrastructure (water, health, education, power, and telecommunication), commerce, and joint security programmes such as harmonised seizure of illegal owned firearms.
He urged the technical team to use the tons of secondary data and other material accumulated over the years from the efforts of NGOs, churches and governments in the region.
Mr Dado observed that the tendency to parachute in with a programme for the people while disregarding the existing useful knowledge has killed many noble interventions.
He said that unique aspects of indigenous knowledge of pastoralist communities is often overlooked in the design of government and donor programmes in arid regions.
“Through conditioning and by virtue of the environment, the pastoralist has the best geographical map in his head. He can reliably predict the weather and has first-hand knowledge of vector-borne diseases which afflict man and cattle, factors which can enrich the effectiveness of intervention programmes driven by donors or government,” he said.