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Communities agree to share river for peace

RIFT VALLEY
By - | November 1st 2012

By Fred Kibor

POKOT, KENYA: Marakwet and Pokot communities have signed a memorandum of understanding on the use of Embobut water resource to cement peace in the region.

The agreement, which brought together elders from the warring communities and the Kenya Red Cross Society, will see the groups use Embobut water for irrigation along the Kerio escarpment.

The agreement, which spans 25 years, will also allow the groups to irrigate 500 acres each and is projected to benefit 1,000 households.

A Sh200 million project was also launched along the Embobut River where the water for irrigation is situated.

Mark Rikarika, an elder from Pokot, said the move will turn around the lives of the pastoralist community who have been depending on livestock to for their livelihoods.

“Cattle rustling will be a thing of the past since most of the time will be spent tending to crops now that we have water for irrigation,” observed the elder.

Mr Rikarika appreciated the Kenya Red Cross Society for sponsoring the initiative.

He lauded Marakwet community for giving them water, noting the area will enjoy peace since food scarcity, which has been a bone of contention, will be a thing of the past.

Marakwet East MP Linah Kilimo, while calling on the two communities to live harmoniously, said the project will alleviate perennial food shortage in the region.

She said the project would also enhance peace they have enjoyed since the Murkutwo massacre experienced ten years ago.

Ms Kilimo said sharing water would symbolically help in creating trust between the two communities unlike other material things because water is life.

“Now there is water, let’s work hard and make this area food secure and export the surplus. Never again should we hear of violence between us,” stated Kilimo.

The Co-operatives Assistant Minister spoke after signing the agreement at Tot centre.

Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abass Gullet said the project would allow residents to produce their own food and stop relying on rations.

He appealed to them to uphold peace, saying without it no development can be realised and poverty levels cannot be alleviated.

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