Peace Agreements – Lessons learned from local peace agreements

The elephant in the room - the value of local peace agreements

Dear reader.

Thank you for checking back in on the learned mediator’s blog.

A question that I am trying to answer has already been brought up in another article I posted on this site, looking at the spill-over effect of local peace agreements to forge alliances, peace coalitions and reconciliation. This is a strategy that the current UN Special Envoy to Syria is trying to pursue. However, we have to concede that there are some intricate regional dynamics that overshadow any conducive peace environment.

Yet, there is merit in looking at some successful examples of locally brokered peace agreements and the question is on how to scale up the local to the national so as to foster a durable peace environment.

Based on field research in the Karimojong cluster (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karamojong_people), I have started to unearth some local treaties that reflect on a few lessons learned to understand how certain processes have led to resilient people at the local level and on how durable the peace is due to the durability of the peace agreement. Albeit not complete as of yet, I thought I’d share some of the insights with you, as I am working on exploring and investigating resilience in national dialogue processes.

What is it?
The Lokiriama Peace Accord:
The Lokiriama Peace Accord is so far the most successful accord in the Karamoja cluster and it is instrumental for the current peace enjoyed between the Turkana of Kenya and the Matheniko and Teeth of Uganda. The Accord was signed on Dec. 19th, 1973 at the current Lokiriama trading center at the border area – between Uganda and Kenya and between the Matheniko of Uganda and the Turkana of Kenya. A Teeth community traditional Seer from Uganda is said to have been instrumental in foreseeing the Accord. It came into fruition after a long-drawn inter-tribal conflict that led hundreds of lives lost. The Matheniko emissaries camped at Lokiriama for a month, negotiating for ceasefire and eternal peace with the Turkana until an agreement was reached. The event culminated into the sealing of the pact, by symbolically burying the hatchet, comprising an assortment of broken arrows, guns, spears, bows and ammunitions in a deep pit at Lokiriama.

To what end?
The purpose of the Accord was to bring to an end the raids, killings and tremendous suffering that was arising from the attacks and retaliations between the two communities. Under the Accord, the two communities vowed never to fight again. In fact, in 2015, the communities saw the Accord tested, when 5 donkeys were stolen, and the Ugandan community had to bring one of their own to justice. The two communities gathered, the elders explored the issues, compensation was discussed, and justice was obtained based on compensation. No further conflicts nor issues arose. Many observers stress that it goes back to the 42 years long lasting peace agreement, the systemic changes to the people and the way they deal and manage conflict through peaceful means and through reconciliation. The Accord highlighted the issue of brotherhood (Ubuntu in Southern Africa) and the realization that there is no value in fighting. It strongly hinged upon the acceptance of win-win instead of a zero-sum outcome.

What do we learn?
Lessons learned from the Accord:
– Community ownership in the signing and implementation of the Accord;
– Community integration through inter-communal marriages among Turkana and Karimojong;
– Joint resource sharing (grazing lands, water points);
– Joint trade;
– Establishment of joint committees of Elders;
– Effective preparation to negotiations that involved one month prior to signing.
Since the 1973, the Accord has never been broken and there has never been a fight between the two borderland groups due to communal sharing of resources and enhancement of trade and economic opportunities between these communities.
What is it?
The Moru-Nayece Peace Accord:
It is celebrated on Dec. 21st, every year by the Ateker family, bringing on board the Turkana, Karimojong, Iteso, Nyangatom, and the Toposa. Moruanayece is located in the Letea district, Oropoi Division of present Turkana West sub-county where Mother Nayece lived many years ago and where her remains were buried. The name Moruanayece literally means The Hill of Nayece. She was a woman who was born in Jie Kotido District, Uganda. Nayece is said to be the first person who settled the caves (Aturkan) in Turkana land and hence the people and the land became known as Turkana. Since Nayece came from Jie, the Turkana people view Jie as “Amuro ka Ata”, which translated means “The Thigh of the Grandmother” or “The Pillar of the Grandmother”. There is a belief that before Mother Nayece passed on, she had decreed that there be no conflict between the Turkana and the Jie, warning that in case it occurred, the two groups should always come to her graveside and perform the ceremony of Forgiveness.

What do we learn?
This Accord has become a peacemaking ground for the entire Ateker and a way of promoting unity and peace among them in the spirit of brotherhood (Ubuntu). The celebrations have attracted more than 5000 people since 2010 and can be viewed as a belief-driven system for forgiveness and reconciliation.

What is it?
The Nabilatuk/Moruitit/Lokichigio Resolution (in short Nabilatuk Resolution):
The Nabilatuk Resolution was passed in 2012, in Nakapiritpirit and was later later adopted as the Moruitit Resolution. The Resolution has been lauded as a key measure in preventing cattle raiding and theft. The Nabilatuk Resolution involved Southern Karamoja (Nakapiritpirit, Moroto, Napak, and Amudat). As a result of its effectiveness, it was adopted by Northern Karamoja (Kotido and Kaabong).

To what end?
The key highlight of the Resolution is the 1×2+1 Principle – as a deterrent measure to cattle raiding. According to this principle, any one apprehended with stolen animals is supposed to pay the total number of cows raided/stolen, multiplied by 2. The culprit is also supposed to pay 1 extra bull that is usually slaughtered and eaten by the Elders and those who might have been taking part in the recovery.

What do we learn?
On June 6th, 2015, the Resolution was further adopted during the tripartite meeting of Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan in Lokichogio – henceforth called the Lokichogio Declaration. The principle therefore among other communities now applies to the communities of Dodoth, Turkana and Toposa.

To  be continued…

About nakawashi9

Mediator, Speaker, Negotiator, Lawyer, Musician, Cook, Passionate Diver
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