Drought drives 60,000 Kenyan pastoralists into Uganda

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Turukana pastoralist

By Jeff Mwaura – Jeff@Alleastafrica.Com

Nairobi,Kenya – More  than of 60,000  Turkana pastoralists and 127,000 livestock have moved to Uganda’s Karamjoa sub-region over the last seven days to escape the drought that has hit the country. Governor of Kenya’s Turkana County confirmed.

Josephat Nanok, governor of Kenya’s Turkana County, confirmed their departure and urged Uganda to accommodate them, The Monitor in Kampala reported.

Pastoralists said they had fled to Karamoja because, unlike Turkana, it still had some grass and water to feed their cattle.

Prolonged dry spell has hit the religion in the previous years. The pastoralists expected to receive rainfall in March but this could not happen forcing them to find Plan B in their search for pasture.

Turkana is a vast, poor northern region regularly ravaged by drought.  For many decades politicians have made promises of modernizing the religion but nothing has been done so far.

An ambitious plan for roads, railways and oil pipelines crossing northern Kenya was launched with great fanfare in 2012, but it has been slow in coming.

In 2013, Kenya and the UN cultural body UNESCO announced the discovery of large reserves of groundwater beneath Turkana that promised irrigation and enough water for all.

But the reality has proved rather different. The aquifer holding the groundwater is hard to exploit, the water is deeper underground and less pure than predicted.

“The announcement was very optimistic and based on very limited information,” said Sean Avery, a Kenya-based consultant on water issues.

For years, peaceful co-existence between the Karamojong of Uganda and Turkana in Kenya has been elusive. Hundreds of lives have been lost in the hostility that has revolved round cattle rustling between the two communities.

Under the peace initiative strategies that was laid down in 2007 to involve local leadership in the struggle for peace with the neighbours the Pokot and Turkana,there have been relative peace between the two pastoralists .

Karamoja region is made up of Kotido, Abim, Kabong, Nakapripiriti and Moroto districts sharing the norms with the turukana in Kenya.

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