Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The governments of Kenya and Uganda are finally set to sign a bilateral agreement to compel Kenya to disarm Turkana pastoralists. The pack is part of a United Nations’ supported Trans boundary initiative for promoting peace and socio-economic transformation of the Karamoja cluster which transcends the Turkana, South Sudan and Ethiopian border.
Under the agreement, the pastoral communities will be allowed to share social service facilities, environmental resources as well as economic infrastructures for businesses. It will facilitate peaceful cross border movements of livestock in search of pasture and water during droughts on either side of the border.
Eng. John Byabagambi, the Minister for Karamoja Affairs says the agreement due to be signed on September 12 in Moroto district by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta will also seeks to eliminate illegal flow of small arms and light weapons in the pastoral regions of the East African Countries.
Various sources estimate the number of illegal guns in the hands of pastoralists in the South Sudan, Turkana and Karamoja region to be 8 million small and light weapons even after the disbarment of Karamoja which collected 40,000 guns between 2007 and 2010.
The pastoralists use the weapons to rustle cattle from their neighbours with some of the raids turning deadly.
Elsie Attaffuah, the United Nations Development Programme Country Representative says UNDP has already committed 3.7 Billion shillings to kick start its implementation soon after the bilateral memorandum of understanding is signed by the two heads of states.
Ali Abdi, the Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator says the program is in line with the vision 2063 of the African Union to transform the Continent and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations which put people and the continent first.
Abdi says implementation of the program will involve multiple UN agencies including UNDP, UN Women, World Food Programme and UN AIDS among others.