Turkana leaders have raised alarm over the duplication of administration units along the Turkana border with Baringo County and warned that the move risks fuelling conflict over land.
Speaking in Kapedo on Thursday, the leaders led by Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai, said new divisions promised by Cabinet Secretary for Interior Prof Kithure Kindiki to be launched in Tiaty, fell under already established units in Turkana County.
The County boss reiterated his commitment to champion the protection of Turkana land and resources within it.
“As Governor of Turkana County, I want to state that Turkana County is 77,000km², which includes Kapedo, Silale mountains, and all the resources within Suguta valley. I want to send a message to all our neighbors that we will not accept anyone claiming any part of Turkana to be theirs,” he said.
The Governor was speaking during the thanksgiving ceremony for Chief Officer for Trade Samuel Ekale and Director of Mineral Resources Stanley Loter.
He put on notice companies engaging in the exploitation of natural resources in Suguta Valley without the involvement of the County Government and the local community and stated that he would engage President William Ruto to cancel their permits to secure the community’s rights to resources.
The Governor acknowledged runway insecurity as the greatest impediment to the development of Suguta Valley and lauded the National Government for deploying security personnel on the volatile border of Turkana and Baringo in the campaign against banditry.
He cautioned leaders from neighboring counties who were inciting violence against the Turkana community, intending to encroach into Turkana land.
On development plans for the area, Governor Lomorukai announced that the county will add one new ambulance to Kapedo to support referral services, and said that the area will be prioritized during this year’s relief distribution.
He revealed that his administration had set aside funds to establish a Sh105 million resettlement scheme in Napeitom, and promised that more resettlement schemes would be established in the area for communities displaced by insecurity to return to their homes.
Other projects the Governor said will be implemented include a 15 million market in Kapedo and a water project in Ng’ilukia. He informed residents that the recruitment process of Administrators in the Sub-County was underway and the officers will be deployed soon.
Additionally, he announced that land adjudication in the area will be rolled out in December as part of the community land registration process. He assured residents that the sub-county was factored as a priority area in his agenda of the county.
He asked opinion leaders to work with the Member of Parliament and all MCAs to allow them to deliver their mandate to residents.
Speaker of the County Assembly Christopher Nakuleu said they will meet with Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki to address concerns on duplication of administrative units along the Turkana border with Baringo and the launch of Suguta, Aroo, and Lokiriama sub-counties.
“The President has already given a directive that the newly established administration units should be launched and CS Kindiki should move with speed to launch them. Any delay can be a miscarriage of justice, a cause for insecurity, or raise concern that there might be attempts to deny the area these units,” he said.
Chairman of Opinion Leaders from the sub-county Benson Lokwang asked the county to expedite the rollout of the planned resettlement scheme in Napeitom, to allow residents to return to the area.
Other leaders who spoke included MCAs Willy Nalimo (Kapedo), Willy Napuyo (Lokori/Kochodin), Alphonse Loteder (Katilia), David Ekod (Kerio Delta), nominated members Rebecca Epae, Lydia Ejore and Sarah Abdi.
Senior County Government officials accompanying the Governor include County Secretary Peter Eripete, County Executives Elizabeth Loote (Trade), David Erukudi (Agriculture), Peter Akono (Lands), James Wangiros (Public Service), Patrick Losike (Roads), and Dr. Anthony Apalia (Health).
Also present are Chief Officers Paul Lodung’a (Office of the Governor), Derick Epae (Administration and Disaster Management), David Maraka (Energy and Mining), and Cicilia Maajuma (Administration); County Solicitor Ruth Emanikor and Chief of Staff Peter Yoromoe, Advisors Malachy Ekal (Political) and Ekiru Tulele (Legal), among other officials.
Turkana East Deputy County Commissioner Moses Gicharu led a team of National Government Administration Officers present.