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Kibaki chairs security meeting on Turkana

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – President Mwai Kibaki on Monday afternoon chaired a top level Lake Turkana Security and Environmental Consultative meeting at Harambee House.

The meeting that was attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, was briefed on the steps being taken to ensure sustainable and fair use of the Lake Turkana.

The meeting received a report of a technical government team that was dispatched to Ethiopia, following complaints by local communities around Lake Turkana on receding water levels in the lake.

The Kenya government has recommended that a joint management mechanism be developed between Kenya and Ethiopia to monitor the flow of water in river Omo, a major source of Lake Turkana water.

The joint management team should be in place before the Gibe III hydropower project being developed by the Ethiopian government begins generating electricity.

The meeting was also briefed on security measures the government has taken following skirmishes in Todonyang area that led to several deaths.

Security has been beefed up in the area while peace and reconciliation efforts is being undertaken between the Turkana and Dasenach Merille peoples of Ethiopia.

The Ministry of Special Programmes has also distributed food items to the affected families to avoid movement along the common border. Security teams have been stationed at the actual border point to deter any revenge attacks between the two communities.

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A joint border Commissioners meeting will be held early this week to put in place strategies of ensuring the two communities live in peace.

President Kibaki underscored the need for countries in the region to establish proper frameworks for the utilization of shared resources in the region.

The President pointed out that both lakes Turkana and Victoria provided for great opportunities for the people in the region but their utilization should be done systematically and in a sustainable manner.

The Head of State pointed out that the government would secure its borders and ensure that Kenyans living along or near the borders enjoy peace to enable residents undertake their daily economic and social activities.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga noted the vast potential in both  lakes  and called for peaceful co-existence of communities living near the border and assured of government resolve in protecting Kenya\’s natural resources.

The meeting was attended by among others cabinet Ministers Prof George Saitoti, Charity Ngilu, Kiraitu Murungi, Mohamed Elmi, and several permanent secretaries led by the Head of Public Service and secretary to Cabinet Amb. Francis Muthaura.

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