KOTIDO – A group of elders in Karamoja region have asked the government of Uganda to continue pushing the Kenyan government to disarm their Turkana
Elders made the appeal on Wednesday, August 28, at the cross border peace meeting held at Kalosarich grazing area in Kotido district.
The meeting was between the Karimojong elders and the Turkana elders who graze their livestock in Karamoja.
They said the presence of armed Turkana pastoralists who graze in Karamoja will compell disarmed Karimojongs to also re-arm themselves in a bid to protect their livestock.
Mr. Peter Lokol an elder from Nakapelimoru sub-county in Kotido district observed that the Karimojong and the Turkana will never have peace unless the armed Turkana pastoralists are also disarmed.
“They come with guns to graze their livestock in Karamoja and disturb us the Karimojong after Uganda government removing guns from us,”he said.
According to Mze Lokol the presence of armed Turkana in Karamoja is provoking the Karimojong also to start acquiring back guns.
Mr. Timothy Lopetanya a former cattle rustler and a resident of Panyangara in Kotido district said disarming the Turkana and the Pokot of Kenya would stop cattle conflicts among the four neighboring ethnicity.
“Since we the Karimojong gave out our guns to Uganda government, we have become defenseless to guard our cattle from the armed Turkana and Pokot of Kenya pastoralists, so Kenya should also disarm its people so that we stay in harmony,” he said.
Joseph Lomokol another elder from Ngoleriet Sub County in Napak district wandered why Kenya does not interested in disarming the Turkana and they want pasture and water from armless neighbors.
“Our wish is that if Kenya government could listen to our cry and they also carry out disarmament exercise like how Uganda government did to us the Karimojong, there will be no cattle rustling because everyone would not be carrying guns,” he said.
Mr. John Lokuruka a Turkana pastoralist appealed to Ugandan authorities not to criminalize all the Turkanas grazing in Uganda saying most of them have not crossed into Uganda with guns.
“We are ready to work with Uganda authority to ensure that the Turkana pastoralists who enter into Uganda with guns will be arrested and prosecuited,”he said.
The Turkana are Kenya’s second largest pastoral group and keep crossing into Uganda in search of water and pasture.
Karamoja sub region is currently host to about 70,000 Turkana pastoralists who entered the country with more than 100,000 livestock following the persistent drought in northwest Kenya.
They are currently grazing in the areas of Kobebe in Moroto, Loyoro, Kamion and Kalapata in Kaabong District.
Peter Lotethoro the Turkana county deputy governor asured the afraid Karamojong pastoralists that Kenya was making plans to carry out disarmament exercise in Turkana.
Mr.John Byabagambi the minister for Karamoja Affairs advised the Kenya deelgations to try as pisible to disarm the armed Turkana and Pokot pastoralists.
He said although Uganda receives anybody wants help but it will not accept the armed people in her country.