TRIPARTITE MOU

Kenya to fix border with S Sudan, Uganda in peace bid

African nations have clashed over borders due to lack of proper demarcation

In Summary

• South Sudan and Uganda have already completed the border demarcation exercise between themselves and signed a border treaty. 

• Demarcation exercise is an AU requirement that all the member states complete the demarcation of their international boundaries by 2022. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta and by his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir
COMMON BORDER: President Uhuru Kenyatta and by his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir
Image: FILE

Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda have commenced a joint boundary demarcation process to establish the tri-point of their common border in peace building efforts.   

The three governments aim at strengthening good neighbourliness, cooperation and promoting peaceful co-existence amongst their citizens. 

The tripartite partnership recognised within the frameworks of both the East African Community and the African Union seeks to emphasise the importance of deepening regional integration, facilitating the development of cross border cooperation while promoting peace, security and stability between the three countries.

 

Previously, African countries have experienced significant challenges and conflict at borders with a fundamental factor being the ill-defined boundaries that are part of their colonial heritage. Approximately half of the continent’s borders are yet to be demarcated.

In line with the aspirations and intents of the EAC and AU, Kenya has signed the Memorandum of Understanding on boundary delimitation and demarcation with both South Sudan and Uganda.

South Sudan and Uganda have already completed the border demarcation exercise between themselves and signed a border treaty. The MoU gives all the respective countries the legal and institutional framework and impetus to commence work related to the proper marking of boundaries.

The demarcation exercise is an African Union Border Programme (AUBP) requirement that all the member states complete the delimitation, demarcation and reaffirmation of their international boundaries by 2022.

The AUBP’s role is to support the demarcation of borders, promote cross-border cooperation, build capacity and mobilise resources for demarcation and cross-border cooperation activities. 

Kenya and Uganda signed an MoU on border delimitation on March 27 while Kenya and South Sudan signed a similar deal in July. The MoU between the three countries recognises the common heritage, good relations and interdependence between their citizens.

It also commits to strengthening the existing bilateral relations. It seeks further to promote cross border cooperation and is commits to ensuring peaceful coexistence of border communities.

 

The tripartite meeting taking place in Mombasa will enable the three countries to determine and establish their tri-junction.

A tri-point, in international boundary language, is the point within the three countries at the same time. Some of the countries with a tri-junction include Czech, Austria and Germany; Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina; Slovakia, Austria and Hungary.  

The Heads of Delegation of the three countries include Kenyan Ambassador to South Sudan Chris Mburu, South Sudan envoy Jerome Surru and Ugandan Ambassador Aziz Buwedeo. 

Officials from Kenya and South Sudan last week held joint community sensitisation exercises between the border towns of Lopiding in Turkana county and Narus in Kapoeta State in South Sudan.

They held seven more joint community sensitisations exercises in Naliel, Napwatasigiria, Nanyang’achor, Lotimor and Nakuwa in South Sudan and Nanam, Nasinyeno, Napak and Kibish in Kenya respectively. 

During the joint meetings, community leaders led by the South Sudan Governor Louis Lobong, Kenya’s Mining CS John Munyes and Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok, have supported the initiative of Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Salva Kiir to strengthen peace efforts amongst border communities in the African region.

The initial joint community sensitisation meeting was held in Lokichoggio, Turkana and Kapoeta, Namuronyang State in South Sudan between July 14 and 15.

The communities along the Kenya-South Sudan-Uganda borders commonly referred to as the Ateker Community include the Toposa, Karamoja, Turkana and Nyang’atom who share linguistic and cultural similarities just as the Maasai at the Kenya-Tanzania border and the Abaluhya of the Kenya-Uganda border.

The essence of the joint community sensitisation exercises to be undertaken in the three nations includes securing the support of the local communities for the objectives of the signed MoU and encourage communities to share information on their common heritage.

The exercise also seeks to enlighten the communities on the functions and benefits of the international boundaries as well as encourage peaceful co-existence while at the same time informing the border communities on the utilisation of the transboundary resources.

It also informs the border communities of the boundary marking activities while soliciting their support and engagement.

Edited by R.Wamochie