Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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The three chairmen from left Joseck Okisai of Teso, Richard Walukano of Bukusu and Reuben Butaki of Sabaot after speaking to West FM at Kipsongo where they met to discuss way forward after the signing of a perace accord among the communities of fostering peace.
Supreme councils of three major communities living in Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties are engaged in talks to look for better ways of enhancing a peaceful coexistence and harmonious way of sharing power and resources under the devolved governance.
The 30 elders from Bukusu, Sabaot and Teso communities that are perceived to be the original inhabitants of the two counties are basing on the recently signed peace accord between them at Mabanga Farmers Training Center and witnessed by the vice president Kalonzo Musyoka.
In a meeting held at Kipsongo training center in Kitale, the elders led by their chairmen, Reuben Butaki of Sabaot, Joseck Okisai of Teso and vice chair of Bukusu Richard Walukano said that they are committed to have the three communities exist harmoniously and root out all the perennial conflicts that have been surrounding them especially during electioneering times.
"We are here to make follow ups pertaining the accord that we had signed last year in Mabanga to know the way forward on what to do before, during and after the next general elections as far as our unity and peace is concerned," said Okisai the Teso chairman.
They noted that the councils are championing for the ironing out of the root causes of the regular conflicts that always see some of their people lose lives, property and get displaced from their homes.
In their discussions the elders looked at various ways that shall address the contentious issues attached to the new constitution in relation to equitable resource allocation among the communities and the elective seats created by the new laws.
"We want to sensitize our communities to know that under the new constitution all communities in a given county should have a fair share of resources so that no single community can marshall all seats by taking advantage of their numbers especially the Bukusu people who are majority in the two counties," said Walukano the Bukusu vice chairman.
They noted that through the sponsorship of the Free Pentecostal Fellowship of Kenya -FPFK they are set to roll out sensitization programs to enlighten their respective people from the communities to understand the essence of the accord and why it should be embraced for posterity.
The elders are also planning to have regular sessions with political party leadership and politicians to discuss the best way of power sharing under the new dispensation that seems to be causing ripples especially among the Sabaot and Bukusu communities in Trans Nzoia and Bungoma as each side of the community calls for a better share of the elective seats.
A major focus of the elders has delved at land disputes which have been seen to be the main cause of the conflicts experienced between the communities and thus they are trying to identify the disputed parcels of land to be taken through proper vetting to be reallocated to the legible owners.
Achievements so far
Since the accord was signed in October 2011, the elders have noted a positive move towards attaining peace and reconciliation among the three communities.
FPFK coordinator Festus Mukoya
FPFK coordinator Festus Mukoya said that notable achievement has been realized in parts of Bungoma County at Ndengelwa and Kabuchai areas where some people from the Bukusu community have surrendered back the land formerly owned by Sabaots who used to live in the area unconditionally.
"Fruits of the accord and the ongoing advocacy for peace and unity among the communities have started being realized especially in Bungoma county where some Bukusus surrendered parcels of land to the people of Sabaot community at Ndengelwa and Kabuchai whereby they have been told to resettle on the land or sell it at the current prices and settle wherever they feel like," Mukoya noted.
The coordinator whose group has been in the forefront of bringing peace and unity among the warring communities added that such moves of surrendering land shall be advocated throughout the two counties especially in Mt Elgon and Trans Nzoia where such cases are rampant and were witnessed during the hearings of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission -TJRC in the area.
Mukoya said that measures are being put in place to document all the land dispute cases so that credible committees from the affected communities can have sessions to vet the cases and have the rightful owners take back their land.
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