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The Turkana women lead by MYWO[1] and ECHAMI A ITO[2] held a peaceful demonstration in Lodwar on 22nd Nov 2016 calling on all their leaders to maintain peace ahead of 2017 elections. The activity was sponsored by Echami a ito- a Turkana Professional women association.

Early this year, Turkana County was listed as one of the potential violence hotspots in the Country in the 2017 election year. There are signals pointing to this becoming a reality. Recently, a by-election conducted at Kalokol ward, was marred by violence, and an 8-year-old girl almost lost her life after she was hit by a stray bullet that lodged in her chest.

This case brought fresh memories of the occurrence of 2002 elections where a Member of Parliament for Turkana north then, was gunned down by suspected assailants believed to have been sent by an opponent. The elections then were so violent and 4 people lost their lives in the process.

(Part of the women during the demonstrations Photo by UN Women/Susan Aletia)

Reports indicated that supporters from the main political parties (ODM and JAP) were armed and fire exchanges were experienced at polling stations during voting. This has perpetuated fear and mistrust among leaders and their supporters hence polarizing the political environment. It is therefore certain that if this is not addressed, then Turkana indeed won’t be safe for anyone in 2017.

The continued war of words between the political leadership has clearly drawn demarcations of a divided population politically. The youths are being used to perpetuate violence against each political wing during public meetings.

Women in Turkana feel that, if the current signals are something to go by, indeed the 2017 might be a violent year for Turkana. If this be the case, women may not get a chance to exploit their current ambitions of vying for the various positions of interest to them. This is because the men control fire arms and might resort to using them to intimidate or even harm the women and their supporters.

It is therefore in the backdrop of this, that Women of Turkana County decided to hold this demonstration and hand in a memorandum (annexed) stating their demands to the entire leadership and security officials. This memorandum has been handed over to; H.E the governor, the County commissioner, the Senator. Women representative, All the 6 MPs, and the OCS.

The impact of this initiative can only be realized if this activity is sustained to cover entire campaign and election period; hence the women resolved to lookout for support that would enable them to;

  1. Convene a dialogue meeting between the political leadership and aspirants to sign up for peaceful campaigns and elections.
  2. Hold Peace call demonstrations quarterly in all Constituencies led by MYWO chairpersons.
  3. Conduct interactive radio sessions after every two months in the local FMs sensitizing the residents on the need for peaceful elections and urging the Youths to maintain peace.


[1] Maendeleo ya Wanawake organization

[2] Turkana Women professionals association



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