Promoting Peace through Sports and theater in Karamoja Cluster of Kenya and Uganda -

“How are we promoting peace among armed pastoralists across Uganda-Kenya borders through theatre and sports?”

BACKGROUND

  • As a people straddling across the international bor-ders of Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia, ‘Ateker’ communities share a common history;
  • A shared history of a ‘troubled riddled past with low intensity conflicts of cyclical cattle rustling, road in-security, general lawlessness and aggravated crimes of murders and killings,
  • A people torn by decades of inter-ethnic, tribal (identity based) and resource based conflicts over grass, water, and livestock, perpetuated by intercon-nected and mutually reinforcing factors of poverty, insecurity and marginalization leading to unaccepta-ble levels of underdevelopment and backwardness;

  • The underdevelopment resulting from the Nexus of Marginalization. Insecurity and Poverty;
  • The cross-border communities of the Karimojong, Turkana, West Pokot and Sabiny occupy the periph-eral semi-arid region and the mountainous slopes of Mt. Elgon of Uganda and Kenya.
  • Another distinctive feature of this region is that it is one of the most conflict-prone zones in Uganda and Kenya
  • The inter-connected two types of conflicts namely the- ethnic identity based and resource based con-flicts have led to criminality that have progressively paralyzed the region.

THE PROBLEM ANALYSIS:

  • Cyclic violent conflict:
  • Militarization and use of force to make peace in the Karamoja region
  • Poor access to basic services
  • Limitations in existing national & local policy frame-works.
  • Persistent limitations In government policies And programmes
  • Limited constructive engagement of customary insti-tutions in peace and security matters of Karamoja
  • The lack of harmonization of formal and customary governance systems
  • International and historical dimensions of the Kara-moja problem

Two mutually reinforcing strategies:

  • Applied research- involving rapid appraisals, appreci-ative inquiry and development communication tech-niques used to generate evidenced based advocacy materials for: a clear appreciation of the problematic and its reinforcing factors, appropriate messaging content, consensus building, peace building and de-velopment programming intervention activities.
  • Leadership and policy facilitation-leading to con-sensus building aimed at: helping the people and governments to appreciate their historic interde-pendence and motivating them to deepen their unshakable commitment to reclaim their right to human dignity and to improve their socio-economic situation and to uphold their right to sustainable peace and development; recognizing their collective responsibility as government leaders (in Uganda and Kenya) to work towards transforming these border communities into peaceful and prosperous societies; realizing the urgent need for the existent potential in natural and human resources straddling across Uganda-Kenya borders to be secured and made ac-cessible to be pumped into the economic arteries of the countries’ economies, both now and in the future; to ensure that these resources bring about accelerated improvement in the quality of lives of the people and ensure that these natural resources are sustainably used.


Peace Building through Theater (Music and Drama) and Sports:

By using sports to gather and get people from adversary communities to compete with each other and win prices, expend their energies and demonstrate positive talents; the program sought to move the cross-border youth and cattle-keepers most of whom are many times involved in inter-community cattle raiding from being warriors of destruction to warriors in development.

Through strategic messaging in the music sang, plays acted by different youth and women groups to address and entertain carefully selected senior government, tra-ditional, CSOs, community and local government leaders invited to these peace building events, program’s sum total threshhold was to generate a leadership that is:

  • ANGERED by incessant insecurity and lawlessness that had continued to thwart joint local develop-ment and national governments’ efforts aimed at transforming active conflict corridors into spaces for human security, peace and development;
  • AND FURTHER DISTURBED by how such incessant insecurity was threatening and held the potential of pulling back the currently peaceful adjacent commu-nities to slide back into lawlessness and insecurity;
  • ACKNOWLEDGING the need to work together as gov-ernment leaders of Uganda and Kenya to promote healthy institutional and individual relations, through improved dialogue and better communication chan-nels, towards the delivery of better social protection, policing and social services including quality educa-tion and health care, trade and sustainable liveli-hoods for the common good of our two countries and the East Africa region;
  • RECOGNIZING and re-affirming respect for and will to uphold Universal Human Rights and Freedom of each and every individual in the Karamoja cluster in particular and in Uganda and Kenya in general, ir-respective of one’s own clan, ethnic origin, gender or religious beliefs;
  • SUPPORTIVE of the rule of law, in pursuit of the core principles of good governance and democracy through consensus building and reconciliation and the obligation to preempt any character, manner, speech or action which may aggravate any existing differences to the detriment of our common future as a responsible and interdependent people;
  • CONSCIOUS of their collective responsibilities and patriotic endeavors’ in the shared desire to protect the common heritage and culture of members of the wider Ateker community;

     

Resolving therefore as senior government leaders from Amudat and Moroto (Uganda) and Trans Nzoia, North and West Pokot and Turkana (Kenya) assembled on March 19, 2014 at the Mount Moroto Hotel in Moroto district, Karamoja region thereby resolved;

  1. That, as leaders we encourage our respective govern-ments to conduct and complete the disarmament process;
  1. Call on NGOs and donor agencies to support regular inter-community dialogues, especially among the Turkana and Pokot;
  1. Law enforcement must play a crucial role in pros-ecuting animal thieves and other criminals;
  1. Our governments should assist local governments in establishing joint grazing zones along conflict cor-ridors with structured, regulated constant engage-ments and review-action oriented meetings to deal with peace spoilers;
  1. Initiate exchange programs with other pastoralist communities around the region, the continent and other parts of the world;
  1. The Government of Kenya should increase and strengthen deployed security personnel on the Turkana-Pokot border;
  1. KCP should support county assembly exchanges (members of district councils and county assemblies) should exchange visits during sessions;
  1. Communities along conflict corridors should repli-cate successful peace accords such as the Lokiriyama Peace Accord and Governments and NGOs provide peace dividends to communities for sustaining peace;
  1. Karamoja cluster communities should adopt and replicate accepted and respected resolutions such as Nabilatuk resolution on punishing and deterring criminals;
  1. The leaders of Karamoja cluster will endeavor to practice and promote harmonious and peaceful co-existence amongst all individual citizens, groups and communities within the border areas of Uganda and Kenya regardless of cultural, religious and ethnic diversities, political affiliations or other sectarian al-legiances;
  1. That we as leaders prioritize the establishment and development of structures conducive to healthy private and public sector investments and partner-ships in the Karamoja cluster generally and along the Uganda-Kenya border specifically;
  1. Kenya Police Reserves (KPR) should be restructured and reorganized with a view to improving their efficiency and effectiveness in execution of their mandate;
  1. Governments of Uganda and Kenya must enforce universal education for all children and facilitate the attraction and retention of teachers in the Karamoja cluster along the Uganda-Kenya border as a difficult to reach and hard to stay areas;
  1. Governments of Uganda and Kenya must ensure po-litical leaders support but not interfere with the work of law enforcement agencies, security personnel and local authorities or county governments in the pacification and disarmament in these communities; leaders should speak out and expose human rights violations;
  1. Local/county government leadership and commu-nity leaders should undertake area based branding of livestock and increase surveillance on livestock markets with a view towards punishing those found to be buying and selling stolen animals;
  1. Communities in the Karamoja cluster along the Ken-ya-Uganda border should work together on projects that allow for the sharing of social amenities such as clinics, schools, markets etc.;
  1. Leaders at the community level should encourage and promote inter-community grazing and liaison networks;
  1. Leaders at all levels must continue working with peace actors and encourage them to continue peace crusades and dialogues;
  1. Community Peace Committees and Peace Actors should establish, support and strengthen early warn-ing systems and link up with rapid response mecha-nisms in order to mitigate impending raids and other criminal acts;

  1. Government at national, county/local government should ensure that women are included in peace processes, community women or-ganizations must play active roles in peace building;
  1. Community leaders in collaboration with security agencies should explore all avenues for the speedy recovery and official return and handover of all sto-len livestock to the rightful owners;
  1. National and local/county government with their development partners should facilitate leadership development programs and activities such as study visits;
  1. KCP in collaboration with local/county governments should organize a real high profile meeting includ-ing senators, governors/district chairpersons, RDCs/ county commissioners, MPs, MCAs, religious lead-ers, security officials etc.;
  1. Local/county government should build peace parks and monuments on sites where large scale mas-sacres had occurred with pronouncements such as “Never Again”. International peace day celebrations shall be observed at the monuments and peace parks
  1. Leaders must mobilize households to produce live-stock for commercial purposes (economic incentive); preference for quality over quantity;
  1. Ongoing research and documentation of conflict con-texts and dynamics, conduct comparative studies as well as document long term trends in livestock theft and deaths;
  1. That we reiterate our commitment to periodically evaluate our actions and responsibilities based on the principle of checks and balances.
  2. That we will engage, enhance, and empower the me-dia for greater public participation in civic education and advocacy programs and positive reporting; and,
  3. That we as leaders, solemnly declare, our commit-ment, to at all times, in speech and deed, to promote and uphold unity and bind ourselves to these resolu-tions as a social contract between ourselves and the people of the Karamoja cluster in general and the people of Uganda and Kenya in particular.

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