Kenya: Kenya, Uganda Start Talks to Create One-Stop Border Post in Bandit-Prone Area

Nairobi, Kenya — Kenya and Uganda have initiated talks for the opening of a One-Stop Border Post in Lokiriama in northwest Kenya to boost trade and open up the far-flung area, the Interior Ministry said Monday evening.

Kenya’s Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo said the border post would enhance movement and trade between the two nations and investments in the cross-border road network and improved security and surveillance.

“Kenya is also keen on reviewing and revising the agreement signed with Uganda in support of the cross-border program for sustainable peace and development to align with its new priorities and emerging issues,” Omollo said in a statement issued in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

The border region is mainly occupied by the Turkana and Pokot ethnic communities in northwestern Kenya, and the Karamajong, an ethnic group of agro-pastoral herders living mainly in the northeast of Uganda.

The communities, which are pastoralists, have over the years engaged in banditry activities making the region unsafe.

The two countries, however, see the opening of the border post as one of the measures to end cattle rustling, or stock theft, an age-old tradition that has been commercialized by international criminal networks in East Africa and the Horn.

Besides Uganda, Kenya has also established several one-stop border posts with Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Omollo said the meeting also sought ways of addressing challenges that affect equitable resource sharing among the pastoralist communities.

Kenya’s trade with Uganda stood at 44.6 billion shillings (about 353.63 million U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2022, down 9 percent, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.