THE SPEECH BY H.E JOSPHAT KOLI NANOK
THE GOVERNOR OF TURKANA COUNTY ON WORLD REFUGEE DAY CELEBRATIONS ON 20TH JUNE 2015 IN KAKUMA
THE UNHCR COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVE,
EXCELLENCIES AMBASSADORS PRESENT HERE TODAY,
REPRESENTATIVES OF VARIOUS EMBASSIES,
HIGHLY DISTINGUISHED HEADS OF MISSIONS
UN AGENCIES REPRESENTATIVES
HEADS OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
LADIES AND GENTLEMENT:
T odaywe are gathered here to mark the 14th anniversary of the World Refugee Day celebrations following the unanimous resolution of the UN General Assembly of December 4, 2000 to have the international refugee day coincide with the African Refugee Day on 20th June.
We celebrate the integration of the more than 20 nationalities and hundreds of rich and diverse cultures represented right here in Kakuma; this being the largest refugee camp in Kenya with over 185, 000 refugees from East, West, North and central Africa and as far as Yemen and Afghanistan.
Since 1990, Turkana County and Kakuma Sub- County in particular has remained home to our brothers and sisters who had fled their home countries for various reasons, foremost being war and violent conflicts. In the spirit of humanity and that Turkana truly remains the home of all man- kind as proven by science; we want all of you to feel at home.
As we mark this day, it is important to reflect on our Country and county’s security status. Although security largely remains a national function according to the constitution, the recent events of terror attacks in Garissa, Tana River and the mass murder of innocent civilians and officers in Kapedo have made us to rethink of the safety of our Country and its people. Peace is a prerequisite for development; without which it is inevitable to both internally displaced persons and communities to enjoy the resources available.
Given our county’s strategic geographical location, my government has continued to value peaceful coexistence and has been in the forefront of addressing resource-based tensions that would otherwise spiral into full conflict. Our efforts in South Sudan, Lower Omo zone in Ethiopia and Northern Uganda in Karamoja region have been fruitful in encouraging sharing of cross border resources, health services and in strengthening cross border trade. Two weeks ago, together with other leaders, we were hosted by the First Lady of Uganda Janet Museveni, who is also the Minister of State Affairs for Karamoja region. In her address she challenged the leadership from the pastoral counties in Kenya to embrace peace, dialogue and togetherness.
Our motivation has been the spirit of East Africa, to ensure there is free movement of our people. To encourage access to economic opportunities, and enterprise development so as to improve the living conditions of our people. The meeting had been preceded by a tripartite peace meeting held in Lokichoggio where the three countries of Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan had agreed to enhance peace and development in the region.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
I want to thank the host community for unconditionally accepting to accommodate the refugees and undertake to support them to integrate into a new environment- away from home. The hospitality and warmth of our people continues to be the sustaining factor for the peaceful coexistence being experienced in Kakuma and the larger Turkana West Sub-County.
Yesterday, I officially handed over land in Kalobeyei ward for the Construction of the Second refugee camp. This came after a number of discussions and consultations with the local community who agreed gracious to host the refugees. Again, I want to extend my gratitude to the community and the local leadership for being part and parcel of this process.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
In 2013, Kenya went through a radical change in its governance structure following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. In effect, the County governments came in existence alongside the National government. Turkana is one of the 47 counties legally recognized and constituted under the constitution.
With devolution, we have begun the process of writing a new narrative for Turkana and its development agenda. Since 2013, the County Government embarked on its development journey that culminated in the development of the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP 2013-2017), followed by its official launch in Eliye Springs at the shores of Lake Turkana, where most of us here were present.
The plan pays keen emphasis on addressing both the structural and institutional bottlenecks that undermine the development of the county. Despite the usual challenges associated with implementing the new structure, Our County has done considerably well and we have already started to see results especially in our critical social sectors.
My government is pursuing an integrated and holistic development agenda that focusses on primary sectors of the County while seeking enhanced partnership with all development partners.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
My government wishes to recognise the UN family for the unique opportunity it has given to Turkana to be its model County for the delivery as one programme under the United Nations Delivery as One Framework (UNDAF). This is not only an opportunity to demonstrate the UN’s commitment to the development agenda of the County but as an example to the rest of the development partners to align their programmes and plans with the County’s master plan. Through this arrangement both the UN and the County would immensely benefit from economies of scale, resource augmentation and efficiency in programme execution.
My government is ready and open to partnerships and in the implementation of programmes that support both the refugees and the host community. There is need to encourage sharing and interaction of the refugees and the Host communities in order to create a strong bond that shall serve to remove suspicion build trust and encourage peaceful coexistence for development.
I’m aware of the UNHCR partnership with the Qatar foundation which is focussed on constructing a model learning facility to be shared by the refugees and the host community. I personally support this initiative and during my last visit to Qatar in November last year on Her Highness invitation, I did indeed request the queen to increase the funding for the program due to its expected catchment growth besides considering initiating a sponsorship exchange programmes between Qatar and Turkana.
My government will continue to invest in our social sectors of Health, Education, Water, Agriculture, pastoral economy, human development, and social safety net programmes while also support the infrastructural and service sectors of transport, energy, land and tourism to facilitate our industrial take off. The programmes, my government is working on cuts across the entire county and service delivery is to all the people without discrimination.
As part of the integrated development planning, our government has embarked on a first phase of spatial planning meant to enable our towns grow sustainably and support in our socio-economic development. That process has begun in earnest. Two weeks ago, senior officers from my Government were here and did hold consultative meetings with the residents on how best to demarcate and zone our towns. It is imperative that we plan our growing towns in order to allow for decent and systematic growth in line with our rapid socio-economic development outlook. Ultimately, the spatial plan to be developed will integrate the various development aspects focusing both on our present needs as well as future prospects for expansion.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
In conclusion, No one, none of us deserves to live in a refugee camp, we have been forced by circumstances. I want to laud the efforts of the international community for the role they continue to play to bring peace and development in countries that have suffered destruction and turmoil owing to war. It is indeed the responsibility of the community of nations to provide avenues to the many challenges facing the world today to avoid displacements and destruction experienced and the pain women and children go through every day.
We will continue to work with the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA) and the UNHCR to support refugee programmes and also ensure the host community equally access services.
Thank you very much and God bless you all.