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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 28 September 2014

CURRENT CROP OF TURKANA MPs THERE TO BE SEEN, NOT HEARD



Members of parliament from the Turkana community including even those who served from 1998 up to date have not made public the constituency development funds audited report card of how they used the money since the introduction of CDF in 2004 as is the case in other constituencies.

The former larger constituencies that comprise Turkana West and Turkana North  were subdivided into two - Turkana West and Turkana North represented by Daniel Nanok and Christopher Nakuleu in Turkana North,  while Central created Loima and Turkana Central represented by  Protus Akuja and John Lodepee respectively, and whose performance record is wanting. Turkana South headed by James Lomeenen was split to create Turkana East of Nixon Ngikolong.

Where development matters are being raised, the MPs from the Turkana community have never articulated the concerns of the community and told successive governments the myriad issues affecting their region. Most of them have not uttered a word inside parliament and have kept to themselves like water in the pot.

The few politicians who have been vocal in contributing in parliament are former MP for Turkana and currently senate speaker Ekwee Ethuro on radio and television and even in newspapers.

Former Turkana North MP and currently Turkana county senator, has been preaching peace to the leaders from the neighbouring warring communities in Pokot and Samburu on Kenyan side, , Karamojong, Jie, Dodoth from Uganda, Toposa from South Sudan and Nyangatom, Dongiro and Merrile from Ethiopia.

Former MP for Turkana South who served one term in parliament as a parliamentarian and currently is the Turkana governor Josephat Nanok has had his presence felt in the area.
 He has encouraged other leaders from the county to hold a roundtable meetings with development partners and investors in Turkana. He held a meeting which took place at Eliye Spring Resort on the shores of Lake Turkana September 10-12, 2014.

He encouraged participants and the organisers on the need to establish an airport in Lodwar town and the county to create trade, peace and tourism from the different counties within Kenya and partnering countries in the East Africa community such as Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. Residents feel the neighbouring partners should come up to establish educational institutions, open up the county with the creation trade trends with the support of the  government and the international community.

The MPs from this arid and semi-arid region have kept quiet without even bringing a motion to the house when it is session. The new faces of the Turkana legislators are not known to the Kenya public. Known only in the area where he represents Turkana Central is MP Lodepe who conducted a football tournament in Napetet village in his constituency.

 Recently, together with Turkana deputy governor Peter Lokoel, the leaders declared that they will not demand help from the donor community. The county being rich in natural resources. Turkana boasts many untapped resources from manpower, oil, gold and limestone.

Turkana leaders have been urged to combat the challenges of hunger and starvation that have afflicted the Turkana people for many decades. The approach should both short and long term.
Initiatives such as engaging friends and agencies to donate food and material to mitigate the hunger situations in various parts of Turkana and longterm initiative to look at engaging government and relevant departments as well as development partners so as to embark on long term adoption measures of capacity enhancement for food production, water harvesting, conservation and efficient use as well us promotion of pastoralist through ranches development are Greek to Turkana leaders.

Initiative  on water resources management in the Kerio  and irrigation infrastructure in Turkana River and other water resources areas like Lotikupu swamp in Turkana West constituency represented by Nanok are alien concepts. Attitudes shifts among the community to adapt to other livelihood sources apart from pastoralism such as fishing, mining, basketry and tanneries industry revitalisation have never been more required.

Modern concepts of farming like green houses must be introduced to tame the pangs of hunger but no MP has started such projects even in their own farms and they still do it the traditional way making them no different from the naked Turkanas who have never left the village.
The leaders and other stakeholders are yet to build community action platforms that will not only sensitise the local community but also provide points of meeting, discussing, sharing and making common mutual actionable way forward.