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KENYA-UGANDA CROSS BORDER VACCINATION AND TREATMENT EXERCISE LAUNCHED

KENYA-UGANDA CROSS BORDER VACCINATION AND TREATMENT EXERCISE LAUNCHED

Turkana County Government, through the Department of Fisheries, Livestock & Veterinary Services, launched a livestock vaccination, deworming and supportive treatment targeting 30,000 shoats in Loima Sub-County.

Following the recent disease surveillance reports conducted by the department showing increased prevalence of endemic diseases especially in Kataruk/Lobei and Lorengippi/Lokiriama because of the movement of animals between Kenya and Uganda.
Being carried out in collaboration with Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH) and Lotus Kenya Action for Development Organisation (Lokado), two teams of veterinarians with drugs worth Kshs2.5 million and vaccines Kshs3 million – provided by the county government – will be expected to be in the field for 8 days.

“We are answering the vision of the President’s Big Four Agenda where food security is one of his pillars. It is also in the Governor’s manifesto,” said County Executive Committee member of Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fishers – Chris Aletia.
He called upon other development partners to work together with the ministry in disease control programs in order to reach other areas along the borders.

The Loima Sub-county Administrator, Chris Eregae, appreciated the ministry’s efforts in targeting the Kenya and Uganda border especially the targeted areas as livestock migration is most prevalent. “This will strengthen the Ateker community and assist in disease control.”
James Lokolel, in-charge of Monitoring and Evaluation in Lokado, said that one of the organisation’s goal is to support the agro-pastoralist community in Kenya and Uganda. He added that there were soon starting an agriculture program in Lobei, Urum and Lokiriama thus looked forward to collaborating with the ministry.

According to the Director of Veterinary services – Dr Benson Long’or, Turkana County has made great strides in cross-border disease control as per the National PPR Control and Eradication Framework.

THE FIRST REGIONAL PASTORAL ECONOMY CONFERENCE OPENED YESTERDAY

THE FIRST REGIONAL PASTORAL ECONOMY CONFERENCE OPENED YESTERDAY
The first edition of the regional pastoral economy conference kicked off yesterday in Lodwar. The three-day conference, with the theme – ‘Future of Pastoralism in Changing Dynamics of Turkana County’, seeks to understand pastoralism as it applies in today’s world as well as exploits the changes as opportunities.

The event will cover several topics on community in terms of culture, education, community vs private land, natural resources management e.g rangelands and extractive like oil and minerals and gaps in development in terms of uplifting the pastoralists’ livelihood.

Speaking at the opening of the conference and exhibition, County Executive Committee member Chris Aletia said: “The future of pastoralism that is the component we are focusing on today. We have to define pastoralism or how do we change the definition? This because of climate change, development changes, issues of extraction of minerals, environmental issues and abundant underground water. These might change the narrative.”

This regional conference has brought together academia, researchers, stakeholders, practitioners, Non-governmental organisations and communities in the agricultural sector – in particular those interacting with pastoralists – to share experiences and lessons learnt as well as create/strengthen networks and linkages with other participants in region.

According UNDP Human Development Report 2007/08, Kenya’s Pastoral Economy in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) accounts for 90 percent of all employment opportunities. In Turkana, it accounts for over 70 percent. However, due to “changing dynamics” or changing environment especially the privatisation of the once communal-owned land and effects of climate change which has limited livestock mobility and availability of pasture.

“An integrated approach needs to be employed to reclaim more of the degraded rangelands and also ensure pasture diversity in the county. After going through the paper titles of this conference I am sure that sustainable utilization of rangelands and the resources thereon will be adequately addressed,” in the Deputy Governor’s speech, read by the Finance CEC Robert Loteleng’o.

Pastoralists are more than ever facing challenges and they are not limited to constrain herd mobility, loss of pasture lands, increased insecurity, lack of pastoral labour and renewed conflicts with neighbours both within the borders and regionally. However, the conference gives the opportunity for the participants to provide a way forward.

“We need to come up with outcomes that are realistic, practical and tangible to able to exploit the changes to turn them into opportunities for pastoralism,” said Dr. Michael Eregae, Chief Officer of Livestock, Fisheries and Veterinary Services.
The conference has been organised by County Government of Turkana in collaboration with GIZ, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Turkana University College, USAid,Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH) and Mercy Corps.

WORKING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN TURKANA

WORKING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY AND AFFORDABLE  HOUSING IN TURKANA

The County Government  of Turkana is partnering with  the Institute for Transport  and Development Policy (ITDP)  to work towards an improved Non-Motorized  Transport (NMT)  facilities and affordable  housing in Lodwar  town which is in line with the county  development  agenda.

ITDP has received a grant from the Ford Foundation  to support  the planning of the project  and will be working  with the county government  to ensure the project is implemented.

In a fact  finding  mission, ITDP Transport  Planning  Associate  Cyprine Mitchel and Transport  Planning  Assistant  Penina Ndegwa toured the county between 8th and 9th August 2018 to learn more about the county development  priorities;  familiarise themselves  with  County’s land use, urban planning,  and transport policies;  collect sample data  on the existing transport  system; and chart the way forward for the Ford Foundation-suported program.

They visited the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure  and Public  Works on the 8th of August to find out the Ministry’s mission  and priorities in areas of roads development,  public transport, NMT, road safety situation  in Turkana, Kenya Urban support  programme and also to identify  areas for collaboration  and partnership.

The two were received  by the ministy County Executive Committee  Member (CEC) Benson Logiel Lokwang’ and had a meeting  in his office which was attended by Chief Officer (CO)  Public Works, Emmanuel Ekeno Ekai, CO Transport  and Infrastructure John Ariko Namoit and other ministry officer’s.

They expressed ITDP commitment  to support the county government to design and implement high quality transport system and policy solutions to improve Lodwar town just like they have done with other towns like Kisumu and Kiambu town. They  were impressed that the county government was bringing  down buildings on road reserves within Lodwar terming this as a way of creating space for implementation  of high quality transport systems.
“we are not re-developing but developing transport  in Lodwar and the good thing is that we have enough space to do street  design”, said Penina  Ndegwa.

CEC Benson Lokwang’ said he was  happy  ITDP is willing to partner with the county government. According  to Lokwang, the county needs much development and without money it is a challenge to implement such developments.
“As a County we had been  left behind for so long. We need this money,  we have to  do a lot of development and be like other developed  counties”, said the CEC.

Though ITDP does not support construction of vehicle packings, the CEC requested  a review of this and that ITDT should consider supporting construction of packings.
“we have minimal packing and whether we like it or not there are places like Lodwar airstrip that  require  packing slots. It is difficult to raise revenue  when there are no good packings”, added minister Lokwang’.

The CO Public  works Emmanuel  Ekeno requested  that ITDP supports other county projects like improving  the Lodwar airstrip and the construction  of a helipad at the county headquarters. He also asked the organisation  to share knowledge  and any available information with the county  team as this could  help boost expertise in guiding the public.
“This is a pastoral community and people move with their animals  on the roads. It is important  they are guided on how to use the roads”, said CO Emmanuel.

He went further to state that the ministry is working towards  having good drainage system and streetlights and that ITDP expertise in street design will be of great  importance. He also stated that the ministry intends to conduct public sensitisation  on road safety and encourages the use of ‘tuk tuk’for transport in a move to reduce motorbike accidents.

While speaking  at the meeting CO Transport and Infrastructure Ariko Namoit said that to ease transportation the ministry  has embarked  on routine maintenance  of road works, a project  that entails bush clearing,  gravelling, grading  and drift  constructions on roads  across  the county.

CO Namoit raised that public sensitisation will work well with projects being implemented and that it will be useless to have good  transport  facilities in place which are  not utilised because people don’t know how to use them.
“it will be a waste of resources to have foot paths that are not utilised  because  people  are unaware of what to do”, said Namoit.

Namoit reiterated that it was important to  have packing for vehicles at least in Lodwar town and at the air strip. He asked ITDP to be flexible and consider supporting other county  transport  projects apart from the ones they have stipulated  in their plan and not to compare Turkana to other counties.
“consider this as a special request from a marginalised area”, said Namoit.

The ITDP team promised to share all the requests from the ministry with their global team and to also support the county government to develop  funding  propasals for projects not supported  by ITDP.

In his closing remarks,  minister Lokwang’ asked ITDP to ensure the improved NMT facilities  and affordable  housing project does not come to an end before Turkana county benefits fully from it.

DEPUTY GOVERNOR SUPPORTS MULTISECTORAL APPROACH ON SUSTAINABLE FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY

DEPUTY GOVERNOR SUPPORTS MULTISECTORAL APPROACH ON SUSTAINABLE FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro has endorsed the Food and Nutrition Security Multisectoral Framework that seeks to improve coordination among key actors to achieve sustainable food and nutrition security in Turkana County.

Speaking at the meeting with various county ministries and partners, the DG advised that a working group should be set up to address the governance structure or a secretariat.

“With this kind of working group then it becomes possible to actualise in addressing some of these key issues. It calls for working together and collaboration,” he said.

According to the SMART survey (2017) at least 1 in every 4 children are both wasted and stunted because of malnutrition in Turkana.
As malnutrition is interlinked with food security, a multi-stakeholder partnerships that are generally directed to address challenges of health, food and nutrition security, agriculture, education, social protection and water has a role to play to ensure the population stays healthy.

Due to climate change, he added the county should strengthen irrigation and increase the acreage under irrigation to supplement rain-fed agriculture.

He cited the recent bumper harvest witness at Kalemorok as a true sign that irrigation done right can have a huge impact. As he commended the partners for their efforts thus far, he urged the partners to implement bigger and sustainable projects that are consistent.

The Deputy Governor urged the partners to identify experts in areas of food security and nutrition.

“The different sectors have captured on how to address the food security and malnutrition in the County Integrated Development Plan very well but now with partners, resource mobilisation can be done,” he said.

Tasked as the lead ministry – Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries, County Executive for the Ministry Chris Aletia said the framework had already been anchored on the CIDP thus partners could use it as a reference for resource mobilisation.

The Deputy Governor concluded with the ministries involved and partners should work together in implementing the various agreed projects including the visiting sites.

Other county top officials in the meeting were CECs Charles Lokiyoto (Public Service, Administration & Disaster Management) and Patrick Losike (Education, Sports and Social Protection); Chief Officers Ekalalee Imoni (Administration and Disaster Management), Dr Michael Eregae (Fisheries, Livestock and Veterinary Services) and Moses Natome (Health and Sanitation); Food and Nutrition Advisor Nakoel Evaristus Lokidap; Directors Lotome Chamma (Irrigation) and Paul Lokone; and a host of representatives from development partners GiZ, Save the Children, World Food Programme, World Vision, UNIDO and UNICEF.

COUNTY GOVERNMENT OF TURKANA WORKING TO EASE TRANSPORT AND BUSINESS ACTIVITIES

COUNTY GOVERNMENT OF TURKANA  WORKING TO EASE TRANSPORT AND BUSINESS ACTIVITIES 

In a move to improve county road network the County Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Public Works has embarked on routine maintenance of road works project that will entail bush clearing, gravelling, grading and drift constructions on roads across the county. The exercise kicked off after successful handover of the projects to contractors.

The Routine Maintenance of Sub-county and Inter Sub-county Road Works is an annual project financed by Roads Maintenance Levy Fund (RMLF) of Kenya Roads Board (KRB). The funds for the project accumulated since the financial year (FY) 2015/2016 when it was scheduled to commence but failed due to a clear implementation structure.

On 23rd July, 2018, officials from KRB led by their Director General Jacob Ruwa visited the County to monitor the progress of the project. In a meeting with the County Secretary Peter Eripete, County Executive Benson Lokwang’ and the Chief Officer  Transport and Infrastructure John Ariko Namoit at the County Government headquarter, KRB team expressed satisfaction with implementation progress of the project.

Mr. Ruwa asked the County Government to ensure the funds are only used for road maintenance and insisted that only 10% of the funds could be used to tarmac roads. He emphasized that the county government should always come up with project plans, which will be implemented after approval by KRB.
He called on the County Government to utilise the technical expertise of  KRB, Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and the Kenya Highways Authority (KENHA).

CEC Lokwang said that the ministry will work with KRB, KURA and KEHNHA especially in utilizing their technical experts to boost the County’s technical section which he said was understaffed.

“The county government has done four advertisements for engineers but it is always a challenge. Let us wait and see if we will have some engineers on board following the recent advertisements. Meanwhile we will rely on additional technical expertise from these organizations” said the CEC.

The CEC however expressed the need for an increase in the funds allocation to the county and for KRB to review its policy of 10% on tarmacking of roads to at least stand at 30%- 40% to make it possible to do a 4KM tarmac within Lodwar to ease network. “There is a proposal in place to try and see if KRB can fund other projects like river protection works as most rivers like Kawalase, Turkwel, Lokichar and Nanam/Lopiding burst their banks when it rains putting residents at risk” he added.

Speaking in Kainuk, Lobokat Ward during the handover of the Kainuk- Kaputir road to the awarded contractor, CO Namoit expressed the county government commitment to open up many parts of the county to ease movement and business to residents of Turkana.

According to Director Roads Henry Nalipan, implementation of the project will help connect people at sub-counties, wards and even villages. He termed the project as a job creation opportunity and a means to curb insecurity in regions such as Kamunge and Kapedo in Turkana East, Lorokon in Turkana South, Lochor Elim/ Epuke in Kibish, Urum in Loima and Lokipoto in Turkana West subcounty.

The Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Public works advertised for 22 roads to be maintained out of which 19 roads have been handed over to successful contractors who are expected to complete the work within three months. These roads are; 66KM Lorengippi- Lokiriama- Urum road (Loima), 32KM Urum- Lokipoto road (Loima), 41KM Lokipoto- Moru Anayeche Monument road (West), 67KM Lokori jnct- Kamuge road (East), 70KM Kamuge- Lomelo- Kapedo road (East), 85KM Kalemunyang- Lochor Elim road (Loima), 70KM Lochorlim- Lorokon road (South/Loima), 31KM Elelea- Katilia- Lopeduru- Nakatongwa road (East), 36.5KM Lopedur- Kaesamalit- Ekunyuk- Lochor Edome (South), 40Km Kalokol-Lobolo-Longelech- Eliye road (Central), 67KM Kaaleng junct- Kaikor- Napak road (North), 74Km Napak- Lokamarinyang junc- Kibish road (North), 36KM A1 Loturerei- Sopel- Kangalitia road (Central/Loima), 60KM Kangalitia- Katilu road (South/ Loima), 61KM Katilu- Kaptir- Kainuk road (South), 44KM Kakuma- Lopur- Lokangae road (West), 49KM Lokangae- Lopwarin- Nanam road (west), 23KM Nanam- Lopiding- A1 Lokichoggio junct road( West) and 70KM Kaeris- Nachuga- Kakuma road (North/West).

The remaining three roads are Lokori- Elelea road which is to be replaced with Lokori Kaaruko Lopii road and a new tender to be made following an offer by Olsuswa Energy to do maintenance on the initial road, Moru Anayeche junc- Letea- Kakuma road is to be re-advertised following the need for an additional drift construction on the road that was not captured in the first plan and Kamuge- Baragoi road which has to be re-advertised following variations on the initial distance approximation of the road after valuation.

HOW E-SURVEILLANCE WILL BE USED TO MANAGE AND CONTROL LIVESTOCK DISEASE

HOW E-SURVEILLANCE WILL BE USED TO MANAGE AND CONTROL LIVESTOCK DISEASE

For the last four days, starting 2nd July, Turkana Sub-County epidemiologists have been in a training workshop on data management and analysis of the e-surveillance system – under the Department of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries – to generate reports that can assist in better decision making in the management of livestock diseases in the county.

The e-surveillance system, supported by GIZ and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), has been running since February 2018 has already been able to assist in mapping the common livestock diseases in the county.

Speaking at the official opening of the workshop Dr Benson Long’or – County Director of Veterinary Services, said that the system would assist the department in decision making and for planning purposes.

“By processing the data, we will be safeguarding livelihoods, planning for vaccinations and timely quarantine as you all know, there are emerging and re-emerging diseases. For example, lumpy skin is a disease that Turkana did not have until recently,” he said.

At this level, the sub-county heads will be learning to clean and analyse data and generate risk maps. Therefore, the county will be able to respond faster during emergency outbreaks as well as in prevention efforts.

This GIZ supported workshop, with an ILRI-Accelerated Value Chain Development (AVCD) – Consultant and ILRI Epidemiologist, is expected to provide technical support including refinement of the ODK forms, expansion of the system to allow the collection of other surveillance data and curation of data collection.

In order to make the system fully be effective in its mandate, the department has been training the community disease reports (CDRS) and other stakeholders that come into contact with pastoralists in one way or other.

In May 2018, there was a two-day workshop on e-surveillance for CDRs, Kenya Wildlife Service, meat inspectors, agro-veterinary shops and county veterinary officers.

This training was aimed at improving flow of information between the CDRs and the county government thus enhancing linkages between the county and the National Government, reduced incidences of late reporting of disease outbreaks among others.

“The training with, for example, the KWS will assist with the interphase between the wildlife and livestock,” said Dr Long’or, pointing out the different stakeholders and their importance in the project.

When picking one of the phones provided for reporting, Shena Mercyline of Sidai Africa Limited – an agro-vet in Lodwar, said she would be passing on the syndromes that her customers share. Customer information who would have otherwise not have reached the department.

This has been an ongoing process, for example in March 2018, the Loima Sub-county community disease reports (CDRs) were trained on syndromic disease identification using booklets developed by ILRI.

Thus far, a total of 240 CDRs and 6,117 livestock producers have been trained on syndromic disease recognition and reporting spread across the seven sub counties.

The way forward is the setting up of the server and commission for full operationalisation of the system.  It will also have a fully-fledged ICT E-surveillance Officer and the county will cater for the recurrent costs associated with the system maintenance.

County Government Development Priorities Driven By People Needs – Deputy Governor Lotethiro

COUNTY GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES DRIVEN BY PEOPLE NEEDS- DG LOTETHIRO

Lodwar, 6 June 2018 (Governor’s Press)

Development projects by the County Government will in the second term of devolution be based on priorities raised by residents of Turkana, Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro has assured.

After investing heavily in the last five years on building basic infrastructure to open up the county, the Deputy Governor said the County Integrated Development Plan developed after extensive public and development partners’ participation would be the blueprint for all development activities both by government and partners.

“In the first phase of devolution a large part of our funding went into improving basic infrastructure, constructing roads to improve accessibility of remote areas, basic health through improving facilities at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital and dispensaries at the wards, ECDE centres and vocational training centres for the youth,” he said at a meeting with representatives from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace at the County Headquarters today.

“In the second phase through public participation we have asked residents to raise their priorities in all sectors and put all this in the CIDP which will be the roadmap for all development activities and will determine budgetary allocations starting next financial year,” he added.

The DG said the County Government had shifted from aid-based to a partnership approach with development organisations complimenting government activities by filling the gaps caused by inadequate funding.

He welcomed continued support from USAID on improving food security and gave example of the organisation’s projects in Lodwar and Kakuma to improve marketing infrastructure for livestock. He called for more support to improve the county’s early warning system for drought which he said was key in avoiding disasters.

Food Security Expert  Joseph Chege said the delegation from USAID Kenya and East Africa was on a learning exercise to identify key challenges and opportunities in food security and nutrition in arid and semi-arid lands, with findings to determine areas of partnership with the county government.

County Executive for Public Service and Disaster Management Charles Lokiyoto lauded the Food for Peace initiative, with most intercommunity conflicts fuelled by strife over limited resources.

CECM for Water Services, Environment and Mineral Resources Emathe Namuar identified strengthening of water infrastructure for pastoral communities as an area in need of partnership with the county targeting to set up three dams to improve the regions resilience in times of drought.

Health and Sanitation Executive Jane Ajele called for a multi-sectorial intervention to tackle malnutrition, which she said was in most times left to her department.

Chief Officer for Agriculture and Land Reclamation Joseph Akure said irrigation schemes in the County were not performing at optimum with reasons ranging from insecurity, incapacity of farmers in handling new agricultural technology, destruction of structures by flash floods. He urged for support to improve infrastructure to enable farmers transport produce from farms to markets.

Chief Officer for Fisheries, Livestock and Veterinary Services Dr. Michael Eregae said USAID through its Feed the Future program had supported the department in strengthening livestock disease surveillance system which had helped the department respond better to disease.

USAID’s Emily Rostkowski assured the DG of continued support of Turkana County Government in improving food security and tackling malnutrition.

Also in the meeting were Health Chief Officer Natome Moses, Agriculture Deputy Director Paul Lokone and County Nutrition Officer Wycliffe Mashani.

PRESIDENT UHURU FLAGS OFF FIRST CRUDE OIL CONSIGNMENT AS LEADERS HAIL HISTORIC DAY

By Governor’s Press Service

President Uhuru Kenyatta today flagged off first convoy of trucks transporting crude oil for export from Kenya, as Turkana made Kenya history of joining league of countries exporting oil.

The President was joined by Deputy President William Ruto, Governor Josphat Nanok, national and local leaders as he flagged off trucks loaded with crude oil from Ngamia 8, Turkana East as part of the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS).

This first phase which will transport 2000 barrels of crude daily to Mombasa, will be used to provide valuable information for future exploration and development and will be followed by the Full Field Development phase.

Speaking after the launch, the President said: “This flag-off event and the anticipated implementation of the Early Oil Pilot (EOP) Scheme marks the beginning of a long and fruitful journey.”

He said the government will now put focus on the oil and gas sectors which promised to strengthen the economic and create local employment and investment opportunities.

He promised that the government will invest to enhance vocational training opportunities for the youth to ensure that they participate in the oil and gas industry.

DP Ruto attributed the breakthrough as result of partnership between the Government, the local community and partners.

“The benefits of the project will be shared and no one will be left behind,” said the DP.

On his part Governor Nanok thanked the President for the deal struck on oil revenue sharing formula especially the agreement to scrap proposed capping of county share.

“We are very happy for this launch which we have been waiting for a long time. Our biggest joy is your acceptance to remove punitive proposal capping county oil revenue share in the Petroleum Bill, which was the concern of all residents of Turkana,” he said.

The Governor added that the County Government will pass legislation that will manage the 20 and five percent of revenue from crude oil export.

He called on the national government to carry out a social economic study on impact of oil exploration on the lives of local communities that will guide on measures to solve problems that will arise from oil production activities.

Governor Nanok assured that the County Government will work closely with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining to ensure the success of early oil pilot scheme.

He urged the President to invest further in Turkana University College which he said should be a centre to provide relevant courses including on oil and gas for sustainability of the oil exploration and production in the county.

Other leaders who spoke included Petroleum CS John Munyes who hailed the launch as a momentous time for the country with the first regional oil export, Senator Malachy Ekal, MPs James Lomenen (Turkana South), Ali Lokiru (Turkana East) and Christopher Nakuleu (Turkana North).

TOBONG’U LORE A TRUE MODEL FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE- FIRST LADY MARGARET KENYATTA

TOBONG’U LORE A TRUE MODEL FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE- FIRST LADY MARGARET KENYATTA

By Governor’s Press Service

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has termed the annual Turkana Tourism and Cultural Festival, Tobong’u Lore as an effective tool for fostering peace and regional integration.

Speaking today when she officially opened the three-day festival at the Ekaales Centre, the first lady said the festival was an opportunity to use culture in building better relations in the region and encourage peaceful coexistence among communities.

“Today we celebrate harmonious living because bringing communities together helps us become more tolerant of one another, more understanding and more cohesive. As one of the most celebrated cultural festival in Kenya and internationally, the celebration of as culture brings a better understanding of who we are,” she said.

She expressed hope that the festival will lead to more Kenyans in diaspora come back home to support potential of devolution.

First Lady Kenyatta lauded Governor Josphat Nanok for the idea of the festival and its role in cementing lasting peace in the region.

In his speech Governor Josphat Nanok said the annual event had played a big role in fostering peace and reconciliation among communities that had in history been at war over cattle, natural resources and boundaries.

“It gives us an opportunity to celebrate as people living with each other, the peace with each other and identifying as one people. It is also an opportunity for you to see the rich Turkana culture and its diversity,” he said.

He attributed the stability witnessed in the international borders especially with Uganda to efforts of the County Government and Ugandan Government represented by Minster of Karamoja Affair John Byabagambi and the National Government that he said had led to heightened trading between Lodwar and Moroto. He said the border with South Sudan needed more effort to stabilise and encourage peaceful coexistence of communities.

He added: “We hope we will also stabilise border with South Sudan, and local borders with West Pokot and Baringo where peace and unity have to be nurtured. The visitation and cultural practices and songs will foster cohesion with communities.”

The County Chief said the festival was an opportunity to rally the local community into ‘embracing the new economy and diversify their economic activity’

He assured that the Council of Governors was intent on improving relations with the National Government and said the improved working relations between the two tiers of Government had been witnessed in the second term of devolution. He also reiterated his commitment to work with the Government of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In the festival were Governors Prof. John Lonyang;apuo (West Pokot), Stanley Kiptis (Baringo), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet),  Uasion Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno all who led delegations from their respective counties.

Foreign delegations included Governor of South Sudanese State of Kapoeta Louise Lobong Lojore, Minister of Karamoja Affairs John Byabagambi and a delegation from Ethiopia.

Turkana leaders in the event included Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro, County Secretary Peter Eripete, Senator Malachy Ekal, Loima MP Jeremiah Lomurkai and the Speaker of the County Assembly Ekitela Lokaale.

A host of County First Ladies are attending this year’s event, led by the Chairlady of the Forum of County First Ladies Nazi Kivutha of Makueni.

Deputy Governor Urges Residents to Plant More Trees to Combat Global Warming

Deputy Governor Urges Residents to Plant More Trees to Combat Global Warming
Residents of Turkana have been encouraged to plant more trees to increase forest cover in the County and combat effects of climate change.
Speaking today when he led celebrations to mark the International Day of Forests in Lodwar, Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro said an all-inclusive tree planting drive that involved the County Government and non-governmental organisations and residents across the County was the only solution to increasing forest cover in Turkana.
He said: “Moving across Turkana you will not find any cows grazing, all our herds of cattle have been driven across the border to Uganda, Sudan and other countries in search of pasture and water because there is little vegetation for the cows to feed on due to effects of global warming. So we have to turn the tables by planting more tree.”
International Day of Forests is marked every March 21st worldwide is meant to increase awareness on importance of forest cover and tree planting. This year’s theme is “Forest and Sustainable Cities”.
The Deputy Governor instructed the Department of Natural Resources, to increase number of tree nurseries in Turkana to produce more tree seedlings to be distributed for residents to plant.
“We want at least 10 million tree seedlings which will then be distributed by the Department in villages in the entire Turkana County to be planted and for residents who receive the seedlings should be told nurture the trees until they are grown,” the DG said.
He urged parents and schools to teach children on the importance of tree planting from a young age.
The Deputy Governor called on development organisations to plant trees at the location of their projects. This he said should be replicated by churches, mosques and other institutions.
County Executive for Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources Jennifer Nawoi said that trees were important and that the Ministry was encouraging communities to manage forest sustainably for better survival.
“We are sensitizing communities on the need to plant trees in their houses, farms and business premises. This is how we will attain the goal of greening Turkana which is a flagship project of the County Government and calls for collective effort of all stakeholders,” she said.
Kapedo/Napeitom MCA Willy Nalimo and chairman of the County Assembly’s Department of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources who was in attendance asked the community not to cut down trees along the river and preserve indigenous trees that took long to grow.
The DG led tree planting exercise at the County Government Headquarters, Public Service Board and Ekaales centre before joining a procession that included representatives from Kenya Forestry Services (KFS) Kenya Forestry Research Institute around Lodwar town.