For many years, the Karimojong cattle keeping communities of North Eastern Uganda have been embroiled in frequent conflicts arising from cross border cattle raids and scramble for pastures between the the border communities.
But an agreement between the governments of Uganda and Kenya wants to bring about lasting peace.
According to the Minister for Karamoja affairs Eng. John Byabagambi, Ugandan government is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Kenya in an effort to expedite cross border programmes aimed at diminishing resource based conflicts in the Karamoja cluster.
Byabagambi says the signing of the memorandum of understanding intends to reduce cattle rustling and improve livelihood of boarder communities of Karamoja, Turkana and West Pokot through cross border trade, proper resource management and adoption of alternative livelihoods.
“The cross boarder programme for sustainable peace and development will focus on Turkana, West Pokot of Kenya and the Karimajong of Uganda,” Byabagambi said.
The main objective of the MOU is to accord communities on both sides of the boarder opportunities for better co-operation, close coordination and peaceful co-existence as well as bridging isolation gaps to improve livelihood and social economic conditions for sustainable peace and development.
Among other objectives is to increase non-violent ethnic interactions, reducing tensions over access to resources, increase cross border trade and investment, elimination of harmful practices such as Female Genital Manipulation (FGM) among others.
On funding, both governments of Uganda and Kenya will be responsible for resource mobilization and ensure sustained political support for the project.
While addressing the press, the United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Elsie Attafuah said: “Uganda and Kenya are on the verge of making history through signing of this MOU and its implementation.”
She congratulated both governments for the joint leadership and journey towards signing of the MOU for sustainable peace and social economic transformation for the Karamoja cluster.
The UNDP Uganda and Kenya offices provided approximately One Million US Dollars (About UGX3.7 billion) to kick start this cross-border project.
President Yoweri Museveni and his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya are expected to witness the MOU signing ceremony slated for September 12, at Boma grounds in Moroto.