Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok chats with Defence Principal Secretary Ibrahim Mohamed during the ceremony.
The Kenya Defence Forces KDF has been allocated 9,000ha of land by the Turkana County Government to set up military bases across the county.
These include 2,000ha in Kanamkemer, 1,000ha in Kaputir, Kapedo/Napeitom, Lapur, Kibish, Lokichoggio, Nanam, and Letea Wards, and an additional 50,000ha in Kapedo/Napeitom Ward.
The County Government and the Ministry of Defense signed a Framework Agreement for the allocation of land in Turkana County for military use in a ceremony at Ekaales Centre in Lodwar presided over by Governor Josphat Nanok and Defence Principal Secretary Ibrahim Mohamed.
Governor Nanok stated that the agreement will assist the county in addressing the issue of persistent insecurity, which has hampered development.
“I am glad that today I am able to witness that we have given you land to enable you to come and take care of defence, especially our international borders where brave men from our community have been securing the border,” he said.
The Governor stated that he was proud that the agreement was signed before he leaves office in order to increase security within Kenya's borders and allow pastoralists to live without fear.
He praised KDF for following the Community Land Act and seeking community approval through the County Government, which holds the land in trust, and stated that community approval was critical to avoid litigation.
“This is the right path to acquire community land for whatever needs and I am glad the Kenya military took this path. You will not encounter any roadblocks going forward because what you have received today is a social license which is critical when engaging with local communities,” he added.
PS Mohamed lauded Nanoka and the residents for the signing of the agreements stating that the collaboration will allow the Ministry of Defence to strengthen security, which is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta's priorities.
“The allocation of land to the Ministry of Defence will now provide the much-needed security, enhance development, boost investor confidence and in return create job opportunities for residents of Turkana County,” he said.
He went on to say that the consultative process, which included the County Government, elected Members of Parliament, and the County Assembly demonstrated respect for the rule of law.
Mohamed emphasized that the agreement is a rich and historical legacy that Governor Nanok will leave for future generations.
The PS reaffirmed the Ministry's commitment to implementing the agreement and fulfilling promises on social investment projects such as schools, water projects such as dams, health centres, and infrastructure projects.
Vice Chief of Defence Forces F. O. Ogolla, reaffirmed the military's commitment to the agreement and assured that the military presence was aimed at ensuring Kenya's territorial integrity.
Nanok also announced that the County will soon sign a similar agreement with Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC) on the development of Silale geothermal power.
He also revealed that the countywide public participation process on land management had begun, with the adjudication process of land documents in Lodwar Municipality currently underway in an effort to develop title deeds for land owned by residents.