14-12-2021 by redazione
Once again "welcome home", or rather, pronounced in Turkana dialect: "Tobong'u lore".
This is the name of the Turkana Tourism and Cultural Festival which, after last year's forced stop due to the restrictions of the pandemic, returned last weekend to revive an area particularly marked by drought and the long period without international tourists.
Tobong'u lore has been in the last decade one of the most effective and engaging tools to celebrate peace and the mixing of ethnic groups, not only Kenyan but also from Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda.
The popular event in fact, also in this edition, was attended by tribes that often in the past have been in conflict, for the use of grazing land and water sources: Turkana, Pokot, Samburu, Borana and others brought their colors, their customs and traditional clothes, craft stalls and performances of dance and music on the natural stage of Lodwar, in front of a crowd of local and foreign tourists, in the presence of the Minister of Defense Eugene Wamalwa.
The Minister, while inviting to keep politics out of the cultural event, recalled that President Kenyatta established this festival to promote peace and that soon in the area will begin work on three dams to solve the long-standing problem of lack of water that afflicts the people of the region.
People who have often found themselves fighting along the borders, especially in the so-called "Elemi Triangle", an oil basin that could prove to be even richer than we already know. Fuel on the fire for feuds that have little racial motivation between the Turkana, the Toposa of South Sudan and the Nyang'atom Ethiopians.
Tobong'u Lore is one of the most useful tools to curb the upsurge.
"With this event, neighboring communities feel as one - explained during the Festival a representative of Elemi - just as we can parade together by participating in a common festival, so we can agree instead of fighting each other every time a dispute between Kenya and Ethiopia pops up."
Pastoral communities from the three nations also participated in the festival.
"We share water and pastures; why should we keep fighting? There is now peace in the Elemi Triangle and we will continue to support Governor Nanok in this peace initiative because peace is important for countries to prosper," they announced.
Three days of dancing, singing and cultural events again provided a platform for communities that share the same origin and common lifestyles, even though they are divided by a border. Kenya's Vice President William Ruto also praised Tobong'u Lore.
"Having played a key role in limiting ethnic conflict in the region," Ruto said, "the event should become a national example. It has done
Vice President William Ruto also said Tobong'u Lore played a vital role in ending ethnic conflicts in the region, saying it should now be celebrated nationally. He did what politics failed to do for many years, bringing together the leaders of Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia through diplomacy."
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