It is a reprieve for residents living in North Pokot Sub County, West Pokot County along the Kenya –Uganda border after the completion of the multi-million shillings Kases Peace dam.
This is a follow up after the Moroto accord in 2019 by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni.
Pastoralists in the area have been moving with their livestock to the neighboring country Uganda in search of water and pasture during drought, but now, residents say the movements will come to an end.
Ms Pauline Chepkieny, a resident, says that the problem of water scarcity has been addressed.
She noted that they used to trek for more than twenty kilometers with babies on their backs to get water.
“We used to walk many hours searching for water .Many pregnant women have been miscarrying and the water could not be sustained. Now schools will benefit from water,” she said.
She said that the movements were contributing to early forced marriages and raids.
“Now our children will go to school,”she added.
Mr John Lobore, a local who lauded the government for the initiative cited that there will be peace in the region.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa who yesterday inspected the dam noted the dam with the capacity of 1.2 liters water is now ready and it will reduce border conflict between the warring Pokot and Karamojong communities.
He said that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan Counterpart Yoweri Museveni are expected to launch the dam in September.
The Kshs. 250 million Kases dam water project funded by the Kenyan Government courtesy of the African Development Bank will improve supply of the commodity to residents of Kases area, Kacheliba Sub County,West Pokot County and surrounding areas.
The construction of mega border dam project was agreed on by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan Counterpart Yoweri Museveni after the affirmative action on Development of ASAL Counties under the cross border program and Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] which was signed and launched on 12th September, 2019 at Moroto in Uganda.
The construction of the dam is aimed at minimizing water shortages in the semi-arid area.
He added that the peace dam is one among others in Turkana and Marsabit bordering Ethiopia as key legacy projects initiated by the President.
“The Kases dam is ready. And that the peace dams are key to eradicating conflicts that arise due to scramble for the commodity in the arid regions,”said Wamalwa.
He said the project is a joint development of marginalized areas for sustainable peace and development among communities of Pokot, Turkana and Karamoja.
He said the resource will benefit 920 households in the area.
“We have cattle trap for animals. It will be well fenced and there will be no disruptions,” he said.
ASAL areas Principal Secretary Mr Micah Powon said that they have drilled another borehole for safe and clean water to the residents as well do capacity building to the locals on when and the types of crops to plant using the dam’s water apart from livestock use and that it will go a long way to curbing the frequent wrangles because residents cross the border to the neighboring country of Uganda.
Mr Powon said that Kases dam will supply water to residents of the semi-arid area.
Mr Powon said that the area has been faced with water shortage explaining that the project is aimed at addressing water shortage in the area mostly hit by drought searching for water and pasture.
He cited that the biggest dam after Turkwel dam in the region will be handed over to the community in September.
Mr Powon said that the dam is expected to radically tackle the persistent water crisis, which will be adequate for domestic and irrigation purposes and address food security in the pastoral dry areas.
“Locals are expecting huge benefits from the biggest multi-purpose dam. The dam is twenty kilometers near the Kenya –Uganda border because of a peace dividend,” said Powon.
He said water will be pumped to institutions, schools and neighboring areas of Kamla, Melee.Kalodeker, Kimbur ,Locholia Monyang and Kaurio to help in small-scale irrigation for planting crops.