INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

Peace breaks out along Kenya-Ethiopia border

1.5 million people — one million in Ethiopia and 500,000 in Marsabit — live along volatile border

In Summary

• CAS says violent attacks that were previously witnessed have drastically dropped since 2015 when the peace deal was signed between Kenya and Ethiopia. 

• Deal aims to improve peace and security along the border, create opportunities for trade, tourism, improve infrastructure and build sustainable resilience. 

Devolution PS Micah Powon and CAS Hussein Dado join folk music dancers in Marsabit for the Ethiopia-Kenya cross-border peace meeting with local communities.
PEACE AT BORDER: Devolution PS Micah Powon and CAS Hussein Dado join folk music dancers in Marsabit for the Ethiopia-Kenya cross-border peace meeting with local communities.
Image: COURTESY

Conflict along the volatile Kenya-Ethiopia border has been significantly reduced.

The reasons: a peace treaty signed by trans-border communities, infrastructure projects and multi-agency peace initiatives.

The Devolution ministry said violent attacks that characterised the area have declined dramatically because of peace initiatives undertaken by the two governments and international partners.

On Saturday, a government delegation led by Devolution CAS Ambassador Hussein Dado and PS Micah Powon visited Marsabit for a peace meeting.

Deputy EU Ambassador in Kenya Katrin Hagemann was present. 

The delegation was in Moyale for the launch of Tangible Peace Dividends'.

They said relative peace has been restored through the implementation of the multi-billion-shilling Lapsset (Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Project) projects, European Union support and the Ethiopia-Kenya deal.

Communities living along the border in Marbasit — the Borana, Burji, Gabbra, Gari and Rendile – have been in conflict with their neighbours in Ethiopia for decades, often over grazing areas.

About 1.5 million people —one million in Ethiopia and 500,000 in Marsabit — live along the border.

Speaking on behalf of CS Eugene Wamalwa, Dado said violent attack have drastically dropped since 2015 when the two governments signed the Kenya-Ethiopia Cross Border Peace Cooperation agreement.

The deal aims to improve peace and security along the border, create opportunities for trade, tourism, improve infrastructure and build sustainable resilience through capacity-building.

“Our joint efforts so far are fairly successful. Official data relating to the programme point to a significant decrease in both the frequency and magnitude of violent conflicts,” Dado said. 

He said projects such as the Lapsset corridor are opening up remote areas and improving integration. 

Lapsset includes an oil pipeline, highway and railway crossing from Kenya into Ethiopia through Moyale.

“The project has driven up trade between Kenya and Ethiopia by 30 to 65 per cent,” the governor said. 

the UN Development Programme has donated Sh330 million towards the peace programmes.

The money has been used to train communities members and government officials in conflict management and to economically empower residents.

Achievements include training of more than 1,000 individuals from the communities and governments on conflict management, including early warning systems and the convening of an annual regional peace discourse to share challenges and successes.

During the event,  the government presented 70 motorcycles worth Sh8 million and 500 energy-saving jikos valued at Sh1.8 million to selected community members to empower them.

“We envisage that with appropriate training, the motorbikes shall accord a steady income to families and keep young people from radicalisation and other violent activities.

In September, the government also signed an MoU with Uganda to promote peace and development among the border communities of Karamoja (Uganda) and Kenya's Pokot and Turkana.

Edited by R.Wamochie