The residents of Turkana, Marsabit and West Pokot Counties have every reason to smile after the State announced that it had invested Sh750million for the construction of mega dams to address water shortage along the Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia borders.
The national government is spending Sh250million on each dam in the three Counties.
The dam in Turkana is located in Loima sub-county and will be relied on to conclusively solve water shortage and end reliance of Turkana pastoralists on a similar Kobebe Dam in Northern Uganda.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said that the dams that are earmarked for completion by September this year will be banked on as a solution to resource based conflicts when Kenyan herders cross over to neighbouring countries in search of water as a result of the frequent drought.
“Pastoralists at borderlands identified water shortage as their biggest problem that is exposing them to armed conflicts and killings when dry spells force them to cross over to neighbouring countries,” said Wamalwa.
He challenged contractors working on the three dams to stick to the completion deadlines.
“The dams are part of the goodies that came in September 2019 when Kenya and Uganda signed the historic Cross-Border Programme for Sustainable Peace and Development deal at Moroto in Uganda witnessed by the two heads of State to develop the marginalized Turkana-Pokot-Karamoja region.” Mr Wamalwa said.
He said that already two water scarce villages in Turkana County have gained access to water after the national and county governments partnered with development agencies to develop the Sh16.5 million Urum water reticulation and another solar powered borehole at Lokiriamet village.
According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), communities at the Horn of Africa have suffered many years of marginalization and neglect from successive governments and development partners.
UNDP Regional Bureau of Africa Director Ms Ahhuna Eziakonwa said that the journey towards globalizing the voices of Africans at the borderlands has started with the newly inaugurated centre that will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ms Eziakonwa pointed out that the borderland areas are adversely affected by climate change which has increased the struggle for scarce resources leading to conflicts and forced migration.
UNDP Kenya Resident Representative Mr. Walid Badawi, on his part said that residents at borderlands areas will be supported to devise innovative ways of solving their own development challenges whether it is agriculture in arid areas or environmental friendly energy systems to address day to day problems.
Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok said that his administration has been participating in mass livestock treatment and vaccination targeting pastoralists in Kenya and Uganda who live along the marginalized Turkana- Pokot- Karamoja corridor.