Residents of the Turkwel belt along Pokot –Turkana border are calling on the government to roll out development projects in the region to improve their living standards as peace returns in the area. The residents say they have enjoyed peace between them and their neighbors from Turkana community for the past year.
The residents said peace campaigns in the region have borne fruits and now even gunshots cannot be heard in the area, which had previously been turned into a battlefield for the Pokot and Turkana communities.
Speaking during a peace meeting at Turkwel chaired by West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin, residents asked the government to initiate development projects that would empower the communities living there.
They revealed that most of the warriors who were engaging in cattle rustling have reformed and have no alternative source of income.
“We want the government to come and start projects here because now there is peace. No one should fear to visit us,” said Mzee Joseph Koril, an elder from the Pokot community.
The residents now want KENGEN Company and Kerio valley development authority to engage with residents to ensure stalled projects in the region are revived to improve the economy of the people.
At the moment most of the facilities at the Turkwel Power plant remain abandoned in a dilapidated condition, a clear evidence of the aftermath of insecurity in the region.
A spot check at the facility showed dilapidated buildings that have been deserted and are now home for wild animals, including a lodge which residents said former president Moi once lived there.
Governor Simon Kachapin, speaking after assessing the aftermath of insecurity in the region, said the government should initiate joint projects along the border of the two counties to help sustain the existing peace in the region.
Accompanied by KENGEN officials, the governor inspected development projects that stalled due to insecurity and promised to mobilize leaders to engage the government on the issue.
He said the move with help cement good relations between Turkana and Pokot communities living along the border of the two counties as he called on residents to support projects being initiated by the government.
“Peace has now returned in this region and we call on the government to educate and empower reformed warriors to have alternative means of livelihood. This will help give them a different face of life,” said Kachapin.
They said the efforts of the peace caravans have yielded fruits, like increased schools, enrolment of children in schools has increased, more rangelands and reduced livestock deaths as livestock in the region can access pasture.
“This is the right time for our government to commence gainful projects in this village. We have peace but our people are languishing in poverty,” he said.
The County boss called on KVDA to hasten implementation of 6000 hectares irrigation project in the region saying it will greatly empower the community.
He said the County government will provide necessary support to ensure the project has been rolled out to benefit the locals.