Hand over killers: Museveni order causes tension at border

President Yoweri Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni during his inauguration for a sixth term on May 12, 2021. 

Photo credit: File

What you need to know:

  • Uganda wants Kenya to hand over herders who killed three geologists.

Tension has escalated along the Kenya-Uganda border after President Yoweri Museveni signed an executive order to compel Kenya to hand over people accused of killing three Ugandan geologists, or Kenyan herders will be completely be banned from the country.

Border residents say President Museveni’s order is likely to affect the peace meetings that began last month to stop renewed cattle raids and highway attacks.

Mr Joseph Lokaale from Ng'ibanga Kraal in Matakul village, Turkana West, said the order was a big blow to them.

Elders from Turkana and Uganda’s Dodoth and Jie communities have rolled out peace meetings with support from the Pastoralist Parliamentary Group and Drylands Learning and Capacity Building Initiative, in a bid to restore peace and security.

Mr Lokoliok Losike, a herder from Oropoi village said the resultant animosity would threaten cross-border trade along the 13-kilometre road connecting Kamion in Kaabong District of Uganda to Oropoi in Kalobeyei ward, Turkana West.

“The arrest of 32 Kenyans in Uganda and the directive by President Museveni to ban us from crossing over for pasture if those who killed the geologists won't be handed over has created fear among Ugandan traders who supply us with basic commodities such as cereals and vegetables,” Mr Losike said.

Leaders from Kenya and Uganda have confirmed that the insecurity situation has been deteriorating in recent months, pointing out that they had failed to meet for more than seven years to promote peaceful coexistence along the border.

Turkana West MP Daniel Epuyo said even though the constituency can host pastoralists from neighboring sub-counties of Turkana North, Turkana Central, and Loima, there is need to ensure that the border of Kenya and Uganda was peaceful.

“With our large number of livestock, Turkana pastoralists, especially from Turkana West, are used to grazing in Uganda. We don’t have an option but to make peace with them,” Mr Epuyo said.

Uganda's Minister of Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President Rose Lilly Akello, who is also the Karenga District Woman MP, appealed to the Turkana and Karamoja residents to revive peace-building initiatives, even at kraal level.

She recalled that border residents had lived peacefully because leaders were directly involved in frequent peace meetings in pastoral regions of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

“We have rolled out efforts to provide a political solution to boost peaceful coexistence that includes compensation for innocent people who are either killed or injured during the raids, arrest of known peace spoilers, and talking to the people to stop attacks on innocent road users,” Ms Akello said.

Dodoth West MP Baatom Ben Koryang said leaders went into a lull when peace was achieved in the region and they need to renew their efforts.

Former Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes said: “We are rolling out a programme where the leadership of Dodoth, Jie, and Turkana meet frequently to tackle animosity by engaging with the youth, authorities, kraal elders, and herders.”

Drylands Learning and Capacity Building Initiative Chief Executive Officer Jarso Mokku said some pastoralists from the Turkana community have complained that they are often mistreated when they cross over to Uganda. He, however, added that pastoralists need to respect the law in the host country.