By Frank Kamuntu
Ugandan leaders in Karamaja sub-region are having sleepless nights and endlessly worried after the Kenyan government refused to commit to disarm Turkana and Pokots people, who have become agents of insecurity in the area.
This however comes a fewb days after the Ugandan government signed a peace deal with Kenya to embark on the disarmament.
On her part, Uganda disarmed its Karimajong pastoralists in what was referred to as a brutal exercise that lasted nearly a decade between 2001 and 2009.
Ugandan Member of Parliament Hillary Okwanga, the MP for Lamwo County, told journalists that
“Now security in Karamoja is threatened by guns owned by the Pokot and Turkana in Kenya and the Toposa of South Sudan.”
He added that “If the Kenyan gvernment fails to disarm the Turkana and West Pokot, it will be impossible for the Karamoja community on the Ugandan side of the border to implement the recently signed cross-border development programme between presidents Yoweri Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta, which was sponsored by the United Nations.
This said programme was launched in Moroto, Uganda on September 12 in the presence of Museveni and Kenyatta as witnesses.
The Kenya-Uganda Programme for Peace and Sustainable Development objectives are improved infrastructure, reduction of tensions over water and pasture, as well as elimination of illicit trafficking of guns and currently the UN has invested $1 million in the initiative.
But leaders from Karamoja are disappointed that President Kenyatta’s government has failed to make firm commitments to disarm the Pokot and the Turkana of Kenya.
In addition, Bildad Moses Adome, the Jie County Member of Parliament, said that “Even if President Kenyatta did not promise disarmament, I hope that the government in Nairobi will take up this challenge.”
He added thta “It is for the Ugandan soldiers to blockade the border points with the Turkana in Kenya and the Toposa in South Sudan.”
However, Turkana County governor Josphat Nanok said he has invested money from his county government for activities shared by the two communities such as the treatment of animals and people in Karamoja and Turkana to boost peace and security.