AN APPRAISAL OF THE POKOT-TURKANA CONFLICT IN KENYA

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This study is an appraisal of the Pokot and Turkana conflict in Kenya. Consequently, it examined the nature of the Pokot Turkana conflict by looking at the historical perspective, causes of their conflict and actors involved, conflict management approaches employed by the GoK and  finally concluded with recommendations on sustainable solutions that  will improve the social development of these societies that shall in the long run see a decrease in conflict, promote peace and security both nationally and regionally. The study set out two hypotheses namely that the continuation of conflicts between the Pokot and the Turkana communities can be partly attributed to weakness in interventions strategies, and secondly, the  Pokot  Turkana  conflict  is  a  function  of weak  governance.  The  study used  credible secondary data sources complemented by primary sources collected from interviews with key informants, reports and policy documents.

The theoretical argument of this study is based on the theoretical assumptions of the frustration aggression theory that‟s used to explain the factors that push these communities to conflict. This theory was supported by one of the international relations theory known as the social constructivism integrated to explain states interactions in the HoA and the transnational nature of pastoralists‟ communities in the IGAD region. This theory is also used to explain how policies are constructed and their effects in the management of conflicts in Kenya.

The study established that the causes of the Pokot Turkana conflict in Kenya included decades of marginalization and state neglect from successive governments of Kenya that excluded them from developmental plans leaving these communities susceptible to poverty and under development. In addition, the lack of jobs and other opportunities pushed communities  to  commercialized  raiding  to  support  livelihoods.  It  also  established  that resource induced conflicts between these communities was due to the ineffectiveness of resource based governance institutions in failing to resolve issues of land ownership and reciprocity tenets that promotes conflict. Furthermore, lack of government security in controlling weapons circulating in rural and urban areas creates a high level of insecurity. All these factors work in close relationship to create a vicious cycle of conflict emanating from a point of weak governance.

Lastly the study has given recommendations to control pastoralists‟ conflicts in the

ASALs of Kenya that include; the use of devolution governance structures to address the problems of marginalization and inequalities that causes violence. This will enhance development and job opportunities that will raise standards of communities and consequently decrease violence. Another recommendation made was on the government integrating ASALs communities including the elite, youths and women in policy formulation that will enable the formulation  of  a  more  comprehensive  framework  that  will  work  for  them  based  on community based solutions, knowledge and their vision. Also proposes a need for security agents being trained on traditional conflict handling methods pertinent to peace building and conflict  management to avoid ambush by raiders. Also  provide avenues for post trauma counseling for the victims of violence such as the ex-warriors, women and children that will assist in the full rehabilitation of these groups and acceptance by fellow communities vital to recovery and stabilization of conflict situations in Kenya as provided by the NSC. Finally, the study made recommendations on regional policy harmonization by states within the IGAD region to cooperate more on designing specific policies on the management of cross border conflicts that can be carried out through simultaneous disarmament initiatives between them as well as provide mechanism on how punishments should be carried out on culprits deemed guilty  of  cross  border  violence  such  like  killings,   abductions  and   illegal  weapons procurement.  Furthermore,  RECSA  and  IGAD  should  conduct  further  research  on  the problem of SALW that their proliferation has caused destruction to societies in Kenya and in the Sub-Region.

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PROF. AMB. MARIA NZOMO
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