In Summary
  • A monument located at a village some 130 kilometres southwest of Lodwar Town has become an icon of peace among warring communities.
  • Other than the Turkana and Karamojong, other pastoral tribes, including the Pokot of Kenya, Merrille, Nyangatom and Toposa of South Sudan participate in the ceremony.

The Lokiriama monument near the Kenya-Uganda border was set up in December 1973 following a peace agreement between the Karamojong of Uganda and the Turkana of Kenya negotiated by elders and administrators from the two countries.

It was meant to usher in an era of peaceful coexistence, stability and development after years of deadly cattle rustling.

Weapons including illegal firearms, spears, arrows, machetes and traditional razorblades were mopped up and buried at the monument in a peace pact that was recently renewed by President Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni to enhance cross-border trade and development.

The Lokiriama Peace Accord was meant to end blood-letting among pastoral communities, mainly the Turkana and Karamojong.

Celebrations to commemorate the accord and reaffirm the commitment of all parties to uphold its content are held every year.

Other than the Turkana and Karamojong, other pastoral tribes, including the Pokot of Kenya, Merrille, Nyangatom and Toposa of South Sudan participate in the ceremony.

“The weapons were buried inside this tomb to signify the end of war and usher in a new chapter of forgiveness, peaceful coexistence and stability among pastoral communities in the region,” Mr Emmanuel Imana, the former Turkana County peace ambassador, said.

The marble and cement monument bears names of local leaders from both countries who facilitated the peace pact.

BASKING IN PEACE

The then Turkana District Commissioner David Olocho and six elders led the Kenyan team, while the Ugandan delegation was led by Mr Akwalem Tioko, the chief of Karamojong, and five elders.

For long, villages around the Lokiriama monument have been basking in peace while their counterparts in eastern and southern Turkana experience insecurity caused by recurrent cattle raids and banditry attacks.

“We have not encountered any act of lawlessness in this region for a long time as a result of the peace accord,” said Mr Mark Ajon Lokwawi, the Lokiriama assistant chief.

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