As part of the peace committee in Kobebe Rangeland, we initiated dialogues on access and use of water and pasture at Kobebe rangelands. Before we initiate this process, the peace committee members of Kobebe (Apatwalarengan, Lodoon, Naetheyo, Ekichoro, Losukari, Lopeimal, Lokumama) among others first met and discuss the issue! We ask ourselves questions like “where shall we go to look for grass” we also think of seeking permission to go and look for pasture elsewhere, from our brothers/neighbours from Bokora of Napak, Ngijie of Kotido, Kocholut, Lochor-apaloon and elsewhere. The lack of pasture leaves with worries and wild thoughts; we get scared that our animals might perish due to lack of grass.
Having thought about this, we drafted a letter to village leaders that include the LC1’s, sub county leadership particularly the LC3, the district leadership, the security team, in charge of security in the district of Moroto and most importantly we shared it with the office of KDF and also asked them for their logistical support.
The district LCV chairperson shared the letter with other districts’ leaders and kraal leaders including those of Turkana utilizing Kobebe rangeland. The dialogue was slated for 12th November 2018. Much as many things were discussed during this dialogue, it led to the approval of our migration
There’s is a change in a way Etamam is done these days, before the disarmament era we never used to write letters to other communities. Nowadays, any movement requires a letter to authorities. This has made it easy for the government to track cattle thieves and maintain peaceful coexistence. Local kraal leaders like me and communities now notify and seek proper guidance from the district leadership on migration.
Whereas Etamam is usually done across communities physically, nowadays mobile phones have made it easy to initiate negotiations and discussions regarding migration. As the peace committee member of Kobebe dam I can call kraal leaders in Nakonyen – especially Lomorumoe and Aramitori to inquire about availability and nature of pasture. Due to the fast growing technology, I can reach any of the kraal leaders on phone, discuss main points and schedule when to meet physically. Two to three peace committee members are sent as a follow up to this call. Here he can either tell us to migrate or meet his district leadership. Then we come back home, send a report to our district so that they are in the know of what is going on. We do this within and across other districts.
“We as kraal leaders are linked and coordinated in such a way that we know our main roles and duties across all these borders. We know each other and linked through communication mechanisms in place for example I know kraal leaders by district – like Beye in Napak, Ekeno of Turkana, Ariko in Matheniko, Arukan in Kotido, Aperi in Napak, Natimu in kotido. When all the animals migrate to one place, we put our own meeting “EKOKWA” as kraal leaders so as to discuss on loss of animals, animals giving birth, and general advice to the shepherds” and set up rangeland management rules.
According to me, notifying the government officials on ETAMAM enables pastoralists to access security details and updates on areas they want to migrate to hence formalises reporting on conflicts and management of cattle thefts. This has enabled peaceful coexistence and sharing of natural resources.
Interview by Lomuria Betty
Transcription and edit by Lolek, Atem, Lomuria and Lokeris.