By Gregory Ngichabe
The workshops conducted in Tuum and Parkati in the month of April, on community dialogue were informed by the previous work done by Shalom on the phases of problem solving. SCCRR sought to find out the progress made since the last workshop that was conducted in these two communities. Tuum and Parkati are neighbouring villages inhabited by the Samburu and Turkana ethnic groups, respectively. These communities had been warring for a long time over a variety of issues and the conflict memory was never to be underestimated. On the surface, issues over pasture, water and boundaries very real, especially when it comes to grazing and watering their animals.
Through interventions by Shalom the communities probed deeper in the impact of deficient and limited security institutions on their conflict situation. Institution defects in the areas of law and order, legal redress, sanitation, education, medicine and communication soon were seen to be much deeper underlying causes of their conflict.
The ongoing drought has ravaged the area for almost a year now and this has led to the scarcity of these resources, many families have moved away in search for pasture and water for their livestock. According to the two communities, the drought although harsh, has brought about a calm in the areas as many have moved away, this is short-lived because they believe that when the rains come, conflict will resume as the communities who have lost their livestock during the drought will seek to ‘restock’ and in so doing theft of livestock will be witnessed usually with catastrophic outcomes such as loss of lives.
The communities reported that there had been threats of attacks coming from South Horr and from Baragoi. They reported a total of three threats of attacks in January and February. Due to the prevailing peace between the communities and as a result of the established Peace committees by SCCRR, the have managed to use their early warning skills to send reports to each other. The two Peace Committee members were able to filter out the rumours and quickly send the report to relevant authority as well as each other.
Following the much appreciated visit by the Minister of Diaspora and Overseas Development, Mr. Joe McHugh, the Irish Ambassador to Kenya, Mr. Vincent O’Neill, Director General of Irish Aid, Mr. Michael Gaffey, Ms. Nicola Brennan and Ms. Rose Gauhan to Tuum, the two communities have continued to make bold steps in ensuring that they proceed with their problem solving agenda. They have planned a series of meetings where 15 key influential grassroots leaders from each community will meet for a 5 phase comprehensive problem solving process. They identified burning issues that need the attention of both communities which will be discussed in these meetings with the aim of creating lasting solution that will benefit both sides.
SCCRR will be constantly involved as these two communities meet to give guidance and direction where needed. With the support from our Shalom Friends around the world, Shalom remains confident to continue the work with pastoralist communities that will yield lasting positive peace.