Trans border conflict between the Turkana and Pokot in Kainuk and Alale divisions, Kenya: 1995-2013
Lokiyo, Esther Lokwei
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Many pastoralist communities around the globe are experiencing conflicts, while the Sahel region and East Africa show sustained levels of inter-pastoral violent conflicts with associated potential impacts on their livelihoods. In the case of the Turkana- Pokot cross border violence, conflict is now a norm. Despite disarmament and rearming communities through the Kenya Police Reservists (KPR), peace building meetings, prosecuting perpetrators, declaring illicit firearms surrender amnesties and establishing peace committees, insecurity in the region continue to prevail. This work had three objectives: first, examine the trends and dynamics responsible for sustaining the protracted ethnic conflict between the Turkana and Pokot; secondly, investigate the role played by various local actors in its sustenance and thirdly to interrogate why various interventions by the government of Kenya and other peace actors have failed. The study period covered 1995 to 2013. The researcher used Protracted Social Conflict (PSC) theory by Edward Azar (1990): “the denial of basic human needs to a large portion of the population initiated instances of protracted social violence”. There are four pre-conditions isolated by Azar; communal content, deprivation of human needs, governance and the state’s role and international linkages. Data was collected through random/probability and non-random/non-probability sampling techniques. Under random/probability sampling; cluster and stratified sampling were used while under non-random/non-probability; purposive sampling was used. From the two regions, the targeted population was 494 participants. Research instruments used in data collection were questionnaires, interview guides and Focus Group Discussions (FGD). Data analysis was done manually and presented in tables and graphs. The questionnaires, interview guides and FGDs were qualitatively analyzed and the findings included conflict perpetrated by changes in climate, livelihoods, ethnography, raiding motives, and proliferation of small arms, governance issues, politics and some activities by some NGOs, CBOs and FBOs. Local actors such as elders, women, karacuna, ngimurok, chiefs, businessmen, politicians and activities by some NGOs, CBOs and FBOs sustained this conflict. Government, NGOs, CBOs and FBOs interventions failed in mitigation efforts due to poor conflict resolution strategies caused by factors which are not in tandem with the local perceptions, beliefs, expectations and needs of the affected communities. It was recommended that the governments of Kenya and Uganda adopt a regional approach to effectively address the problem of small arms and light weapons in the region. The government of Kenya together with NGOs, CBOs and FBOs, expand educational facilities in these two regions, as well as sensitize the two communities on the effects of conflict on development so as to curb the spread across borders to the neighbouring countries. The two communities should come up with traditional strategies that conform to their beliefs systems and practices that can be used to mitigate the prevailing conflicts. These two communities used to intermarry, hold traditional ceremonies together and borrow customs from each other; they need to continue remarrying as a way of coming together to strengthen their relations.