Urum, 13th September (Governor’s Press Service)

Devolution and ASALs Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Governor Josphat Nanok today led celebrations to commemorate the first anniversary of the Kenya-Uganda MOU on cross-border peace and development.

The leaders commissioned the Sh16.5Million Urum water reticulation Peace Dividend Project a partnership by the County Government, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with technical assistance from the Ministry of Devolution and ASALs.

Governor Nanok said the project was a beginning of reaping fruits of the MOU and termed it a demonstration of the productive partnership between governments to meet communities’ needs. He said the community had identified water shortage as it’s biggest problem which prompted President Uhuru to direct construction of three dams in Turkana, West Pokot, Marsabit, Samburu and Baringo. The MOU was signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and President Uhuru Kenyata last Septermber.

On the Sh250M strategic and multipurpose dam set to be constructed in Namoni-ang’ikaala in Loima, CS Wamalwa assured that a team of experts from the Ministry of Water will visit the area to iron out technical aspects before construction begin.

He explained that the project as a dividend for cross-border peace was meant to emulate similar investment by the Government of Uganda in Kobebe which has benefited communities on both sides of the Kenya and Uganda border.

To address the challenge of insecurity raised by residents of Urum, the CS promised to bring Interior CS Dr. Fred Matiangi on board to assess the situation and explore a possibility for establishing police posts in vulnerable areas. The CS announced that his Ministry, through the peace programme, will construct a peace school for communities in the area.

The Governor called for the National Government to fasttrack construction of the Namoni-ang’ikaala dam to end strife for water by pastrolists in the area.

He raised concern on the lack of primary education infrastructure in the area and warned that the problem was a cause for poor transition rate from ECDEs. The Governor urged the area MP to follow up on funds donated by the World Bank meant to construct classrooms that he said the National Ministry of Education had not spent.

Once again, the County boss reiterated his stand not to allow 2022 succession politics distract his administration from deligent service delivery and has assured residents of Turkana that his focus is to deliver on mandate to them in the remaining period of his second term.

He cautioned aspirants against causing disharmony within the County Government and called for objective issue-based politics. He stated that all leaders with positions in government and holding elective seats, had a responsibility to deliver to the public and will be measured on their performance rather than empty rhetorics.

On the BBI report, the Governor declared that Turkana leaders were reserving judgement on calls for a referendum until the final report is released. He cautioned against blind support for proposals whose contents have not been seen.

UNDP Chief Technical Advisor for Cross-border Programme in Kenya Dr Asfaw Kumsa said they will endeavour to partner with government to invest in additional water projects to meet demand by residents.

County Executive for Water, Environment and Mineral Resources Chris Aletia announced that the County was drilling an additional borehole to compliment the Urum water project launched today.

CS Wamalwa was accompanied by Senate Leader of Majority Samuel Poghisio who urged Turkana leaders to shun divisive politics and work together. PS for Devolution and ASALs Micah Powon was also present.

Other leaders who spoke were CS for Petroleum and Mining John Munyes, Loima MP Jeremiah Lomurkai, Lorengippi/Lokiriama MCA Patrick Imana and his Kotaruk/Lobei counterpart William Ebenyo.

County Secretary Peter Eripete led senior County Government staff present who included CECMs Benson Lokwang (Public Service, Administration and Disaster Management) Philip Aemun (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries) and Jennifer Nawoi (Lands); Chief Officer for Water Moses Natome; Advisors Protus Akuja (Extractives), Boniface Korobe (Culture and Heritage) Phoebe Kaaman (Partnerships, Gender and Children Affairs) and Rebecca Lowoiya (Politics and Intergovernmental Relations).