Kamion- Uganda, 1st March 2023 (Governor’s Press Service) –The Kenya-Uganda peace programme yesterday received a major boost following the launch of a key road project connecting the two countries.
Deputy Governor Dr John Erus and Kaabong District LC5 Chairperson Meri Jino Bornd jointly launched the Kamion-Oropoi road project, a 13km road that will connect Kamion in Kaabong District Uganda to Oropoi in Kalobeyei Ward, Turkana County.
The project is funded by the Australian Government under the WFP Joint Crossborder Resilience and Climate Adaptation Project. It is expected to reopen the road network first constructed by the British in the 1940s.
Speaking at the launch, DG Erus expressed his optimism that the project will contribute to the development of the region, support peace efforts and boost the cohesion of communities.
“Today as we launch this road, we believe it is the beginning of good things to come in the future with the commitment shown by the leadership of Turkana County and Kaabong District and the two governments and partners to develop the region,” he said.
He also reiterated the focus of the County Government on improving the livelihoods of residents through various initiatives, including peace dividend projects such as roads, cross-border one health programmes and cultural celebrations.
The DG informed the delegation that Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai had sent the team from Turkana to represent him in the launch as a show of his commitment to the peace process.
“Today my being here is a demonstration of the Governor’s continuous commitment and belief in the Kaabong leadership that can put our resources together to promote and open the region and he made commitments to this during the Ata Nayece commemoration,” he added.
He stated support for disarmament efforts but asked Uganda authorities to reciprocate the hospitality the County Government was showing to residents of Uganda working and doing business in Turkana by assuring Turkana herders in Uganda of their safety.
Kaabong LC5 Chairperson Meri Jino Bornd thanked WFP and expressed his support for peace between the cross-border communities. He said the road will be a crucial access road to the district to boost trade and tourism.
“We are committed to making sure our two communities benefit from the project. We will work with you to ensure that the peace enjoyed by our people lasts for a long time,” he said.
WFP Representative and Country Director for Uganda Abdirahman Meygag expressed hope that the project will be a start of a long development programme to end the marginalisation of the region and build the resilience of cross-border communities.
“WFP is very delighted to be part of the transformation of this region. The project is within the implementation of the MOU between Kenya and Uganda on peace and development. We want to see this project replicated in other regions,” he said.
Ik Member of Parliament Hillary Lokwang stressed the importance of the road in the cohesion of communities in the region and the promotion of trade and peace. County Secretary Peter Eripete challenged leaders from the region to spearhead investments to end marginalisation which had contributed to underdevelopment.
MCAs Julius Edung (Kalobeyei), Lawrence Lopayo (Lokiriama/Lorengippi) and Francis Ng’imusia (Letea) who accompanied the Deputy Governor said the County Assembly will support similar projects on the Turkana side. They urged communities to live in peace and support efforts to build cohesion.
County Executive for Infrastructure, Transport and Public Works Patrick Losike promised that the ministry will budget for the extension of cross-border road projects.
The leaders later toured the ongoing construction of a road connecting Timu Sub-County in Uganda to Nalaputui in Kalobeyei Ward.
Others who spoke during the launch included MP for Dodoth North Komol Joseph and WFP Head of Karamoja Area Office Kennedy Oduor, among others.