January 19, 2024 (Public Communication and Media Relations)
The County Government of Turkana through its Department of Lands, Housing and Urban Areas Management held a four-day consultative meeting with stakeholders and the general public of Kakuma, the second town to be conferred with Municipality status in Turkana after Lodwar.
The Municipality gained prominence against the backdrop of refugee-hosting credibility. Kakuma is considered to be home to more than 250,000 refugees from various nations, about 100,000 host communities, and a significant population of humanitarian workers serving the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) among others.
At the consultative meeting, The County Executive Committee Member for Lands, Housing, and Urban Areas Management, Peter Akono said that the consultations are aimed at preparing for the socio-economic transformation of the Municipality area through collaborative efforts between the County and partners as well as streamlining the implementation of development strategies.
The CECM stated that the County’s vision was to have a Municipality full of job opportunities for its population and sound infrastructures to sustainably provide the residents with water, energy, transport, waste management, safety, and more.
Acknowledging the existence of an MoU with UN-Habitat, Mr. Akono added that such agreements would further enhance efforts toward upgrading the critical facilities required to make a Municipality attain true urban status.
“As the Municipality takes shape, we hope to integrate inclusive practices for the host and refugee communities and tap into the diverse cultural orientations of the population for a unique and vibrant urban Centre,” said CECM Akono.
The Chief Officer for Urban Areas Management, Marian Lotieng, commented that the legal provision of the Urban and Cities Act of 2011 remained the guiding principles upon which the development agenda for the new Municipality would be anchored. She also called upon the stakeholders to familiarise themselves with the laws.
Marian also emphasized that community empowerment, sanitation, sustainable provision of basic amenities, the establishment of a waste management system, improved connectivity with neighboring towns and countries, and, security of the locals were the primary priorities, and urged partners to support those areas.
Chief Officer also added that public participation would be used as the constitutionally approved standard practice to endorse the said priorities and allow the local residents to voice their concerns by including them in decision-making processes.
On his part, Kakuma Area Member of County Assembly Eliud Emoni expressed the willingness of his office to support participatory approaches that integrate members of the public in decision-making. He cited the Town Hall meeting, community Baraza, and professionals’ forum as avenues that could be used to attain the desired outcome.
This consultative meeting comes at a time when the County has already advertised the position of Municipality Manager. Staffing plans for the entity have also been put in place through recruitment and secondment models.
Peter Ngala (Public health), Robinson Kotol (Ag. Director Urban Areas), Simon Lokakwan (Lands Administrator), Benard Elipan (Surveyor), Samwel Ekaran (Environment officer), David Erukudi (Department of Refugee Services), Zacharia Etukon (Ag MD KATOWASE) and Abraham Machiek (Refugees representative) attended the meeting.
Also present were the area’s National and County government administrative officers including Salat Hammed (ACC), Amos Asilan (Agcting Sub-County Administrator), and all the village administrators.