Tobong’u Lore: Start of annual Turkana Culture Festival


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The sixth edition of the Turkana Tourism and Culture Festival – Tobong’u Lore – kicked off yesterday with a slow start compared to previous years.

The annual event held to cement cohesion between pastoral communities living along the shared borders between Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia was postponed last year due to the spread of the pandemic of Covid-19 around the world.

At the same time, Defense Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa praised the achievements achieved through the festival.

The SC welcomed the decision of Governor Josephat Nanok (box) to organize the event despite the challenges facing the region, notably the drought.

Wamalwa said the annual festival, which creates cohesion and development among neighboring communities in the region, led to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the governments of Kenya and Uganda. The pact was signed in Moroto, Uganda, in 2019.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni attended the signing of the memorandum of understanding which decided to develop water projects and road infrastructure to combat insecurity caused by the conflict over water and pastures.

Yesterday, some of the event exhibitors were still pitching their tents at noon as the crowds started to pour in.

The infrastructure of the Ekaales center, venue of the event, could not compare to previous celebrations. The mega dome erected in previous editions has been replaced by many smaller tents.

James Ekai, a resident of Lodwar, attributed the slow start to the drought, which affected many residents.

“Tobong’u Lore is a time of celebration, but due to the drought, many people have no money to spend or attend the festival,” Ekai said.

Governor Josphat Nanok said the event helped pacify international borders.

“The 2018 Tobong’u Lore meeting spawned the Kenya-Uganda MoU that pacified international borders,” Nanok said.

The governor said the festival provides an opportunity for delegations from neighboring countries to deal with cases of insecurity.

Some residents objected to the event, saying it was a misplaced priority at a time when the county is experiencing drought and still suffering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The previous activities take place during school holidays and allow children to participate.

This year’s Tobong’u Lore runs from December 9-11.

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Darcy J. Skinner