Last Thursday, the First Lady of Uganda Mrs. Janet Museveni, on the invitation of the Governor for Turkana County Josephat Koli Nanok, joined the Turkana people of Kenya at the Ekales (Ostrich) Centre in Lodwar town on the day they dedicated their County to God in prayers.
This was the first day of the second Turkana Tourism and Cultural festival “Tobong’u Lore” (welcome back home) 2015, which run under the theme ‘Celebrating Cultural Revival for Peace and Development’.
The colourful day filled with worship and praise led by various gospel singers was attended by delegations from Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, representatives from the other Counties in Kenya, religious leaders from different denominations plus the leaders and people of Turkana County.
The First Lady’s delegation included Ministers Simon Lokodo of Ethics and Integrity and Peter Lokeris of Minerals, Bishop Joshua Lwere, Uganda’s High Commissioner to Kenya Mrs. Angelina Waphakabulo, Karimojong MPs and other prominent people from Karamoja.
While addressing the congregation, Mrs. Janet Museveni commended the Turkana people for choosing to begin their celebrations with a time of prayer and thanksgiving to God, acknowledging that He is the Author and Finisher of all plans and aspirations.
She shared the experience of Uganda in the establishment of peace and security among the communities in the Karamoja sub region which she said are founded on prayer and intercession.
This she said helped the successful removal of illegal guns leading to the drastic reduction of cattle raids and restoration of law and order.
In pursuit of peace and development in the region, the Government of Uganda also provided water sources for communities and their animals, constructed new schools and health facilities and also registered some success at food production.
She acknowledged that the challenges of the Karimojong of Uganda and the Turkana of Kenya who share many cultural values and also face very similar challenges are deeply entrenched in the mindset of the people and yet changing the people’s mindset is a process which does not happen overnight and cannot be legislated.
She said that traditionally there was a spirit of disunity, violence and shedding of blood through inter-tribal feuds and clashes especially over cattle raids, ignorance, disease and lawlessness in Karamoja and so the prayers were targeted at this dark spirit to be lifted from the region.
To remove such entrenched spirits of darkness there is need to engage the people in a spirit of reconciliation, she added.
Mrs. Museveni told the Turkana that it is the spirit born of forgiveness and reconciliation that has enabled the Karamoja sub region become part and parcel of the nation of Uganda in terms of peace and development with roads, electricity, schools, hospitals, local administrations, police posts, dams, farms, tourism and budding industrial ventures in plan.
“My prayer for Turkana today is that God will open the eyes of your spirit, and reveal to you and to your leaders, the direction He wants you to go. God wants His people to prosper, and when we turn to Him, He shows us how to do it”.
While welcoming Mrs. Janet Museveni to Turkana, the County Governor Josephat Koli Nanok said he was happy to witness peace being inaugurated in Turkana land.
He said they want to emulate what happened in Karamoja and also bring peace to Turkana.
He said through the Turkana Tourism and Cultural festival they are celebrating the people, rich and diverse cultural heritage, tradition cuisine, human and animal archeological discoveries, artifacts and regional peaceful co-existence.