The sixth Turkana Cultural Festival of the Ateker Community is being held at the Ekaales centre in Turkana County’s capital Lodwar.
Multilingual and multicultural communities from four countries are attending the Turkana Cultural Festival. A majority are from the Ateker Community which includes: Teso from Kenya, Karamoja from Uganda, Toposa from South Sudan, Nyangatom of Ethiopia and the Turkana speaking people of Turkana, Kenya.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa officially opened the three-day celebration of culture for sustainable peace and development.
Eugene assured residents that he will ensure that the region is secure. The region has in the past suffered from insecurity, from bandits and cattle rustlers, which has claimed many lives.
“While I am still the Cabinet Secretary of Defence, I will ensure that we leave a mark here to ensure that Turkana County has enough security,” said Eugene.
He promised to set up a military camp by January next year in an effort to promote peace along the borders. He added that setting up the camps will assure investors of security, who will invest and in turn improve the economy of the region and that of the country.
The Cabinet Secretary said that the festivals will foster peace and development of Kenya and Uganda as per the MOU signed, witnessed by the President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. It will also foster peace between Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan which will benefit cross-border communities.
Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok explained that Covid-19 interfered with the festival that had been planned for last year. He assured people that Covid-19 measures are in place.
He urged those who have not been vaccinated to take up the vaccines so as to curb the spread of the virus.
Nanok further bashed those opposing the cultural festivals claiming that they are “destroyers of peace.”
“Those few who are against this cultural event are destroyers of peace, they are lost and they don’t know what they are doing,” said Governor Nanok.
Ugandan Minister for Karamoja Affairs John Byabagambi was in attendance together with other delegates from Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan.