- CS Wamalwa while gracing the event today at Ekalees centre Lodwar said the Turkana Tourism and Cultural festival is meant to foster peaceful coexistence among the communities
Governor Nanok said the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the peace cultural event, Lokiriama peace accord and Tobongulore.
Cabinet Secretary for Defence Eugene Wamalwa has urged Turkana residents to embrace the Turkana Tourism and Cultural Festival for peaceful coexistence.
The Turkana county government is hosting neighbouring counties and countries for the sixth edition of the Turkana Cultural Festival known as Tobong’ulore (Welcome Back Home) from December 9 to 11.
Speaking while gracing the event Wednesday at Ekalees centre Lodwar, CS Wamalwa said the Turkana Tourism and Cultural festival is meant to foster peaceful coexistence among the communities within the counties and across neighbouring countries including Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
“I know next year will be political, but don’t politicize development programmes because through the efforts of this event (Tobongulore) we have three dams, one in Marsabit, Turkana and West Pokot counties,” he said.
He said it’s through this initiative of Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok that brought an MoU of a peace pact that was signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his counterpart of Uganda Yoweri Museveni.
Wamalwa said the signed peace pact at Moroto in 2019, provided for the development of water projects and road infrastructure to address insecurity caused by conflict over water and pasture along the border.
“When we come here, we don’t only celebrate the culture but we also do diplomacy and peacebuilding. This is an international event and let’s not make it look like a local political event,” he said.
“Wamalwa said the neighbouring communities from the four countries share the same culture and they didn’t choose to live on any side of the border and the decision was made by the colonialists who didn’t understand their culture and the way of life,” he said.
Governor Nanok deplored that the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the peace cultural event, Lokiriama peace accord and Tobongulore.
He said the pandemic also interrupted the cross border peace programmes including Turkana tourism and cultural festival.
He said the Tobongulore event will receive the programmes including the implementation of Kenya and Uganda peace deal, development and joint one health programme.
He said they have gathered again to revive the good memories of peacebuilding across borders.
“It’s through culture and this event that we realise we are one and we are the solution of our own problems and this is the purpose of this event,” Nanok said.
“I don’t understand why a few amongst us think it’s bad, those people are lost. This is a celebration that brings people from four countries together who have been in the conflict.”
Ugandan Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mary Kitutu underscored the importance of the festival saying it provides an opportunity for the two countries to celebrate their shared cultures.
In a speech read on her behalf by Ugandan delegation leader Francis Lokoli, Kitutu said Uganda will continue to mobilize resources for the peaceful coexistence of the two countries.
Last week a section of residents and leaders had protested over the planned festival to be scrapped and the budget redirected to provide basic needs for residents.
They cited that drought was declared as a national disaster and Turkana is among the counties ravaged by drought and hunger, therefore, it’s not important to celebrate the culture before survival.
More than 20,000 visitors from Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan are expected to attend the event.
Edited by D Tarus