'WANT KURIA COUNTY'

Kuria leaders bet on census data in push for a break from Migori

Say area is more populous than Lamu and Isiolo counties which have 143,920 and 268,002 people respectively

DETERMINED: A section of Kuria council of elders, Nchama, after a meeting at Kehancha.
Image by MANUEL ODENY
In Summary

• Census data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show that Kuria East and Kuria West constituencies have 96,872 and 208,513 people respectively.

• With 305,385 people, the Kuria community makes 27.4 per cent of Migori county's population of 1,116,436.

The minority Kuria community in Migori has been buoyed by the 2019 census results in their push for a separate county.

Census data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show that Kuria East and Kuria West constituencies have 96,872 and 208,513 people respectively.

With 305,385 people, the Kuria community makes 27.4 per cent of Migori county's population of 1,116,436.

Kuria elders and leaders say they had projected to have at least 350,000 people in the census, but the numbers still give them an impetus to form their own county.

“The Kuria community is not satisfied with the released census results. But the number is enough to have our own county as we are more populous than other devolved units,” Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama said.

The MP said their population is bigger than that of seven other minority communities. 

“We are set to establish our own county because we are cosmopolitan and have a unique culture away from Luo and Kisii communities in the former Nyanza region,” Kitayama said.

He said the quest for a Kuria county is enshrined in the spirit of the 2010 Constitution. 

Kuria area is more populous than Lamu and Isiolo counties which have 143,920 and 268,002 people respectively.

According to the County Allocation of Revenue Bill 2019, Lamu and Isiolo counties' current equitable share of revenue raised nationally is Sh2.8 billion and Sh4.8 billion.

Migori county gets Sh7.2 billion to be shared by her eight constituencies.

Matiko Bohoko, an elder, said Kuria only needs “at least Sh1 billion annually to make our area shine. We should get more than Lamu and Isiolo counties.”

Nominated MP Dennitah Ghati said there are six counties with a population below 400,000 people. 

The six are Lamu, Isiolo, Tharaka Nithi, Taita-Taveta, Tana River and Samburu  which are the least populated and get between Sh2.8billion and Sh6.2billion each.

“We have the threshold as a community to manage our own county. We had Kehancha Municipal Council which was the best in management in Nyanza region before devolution,”  Ghati said.

She said the Kuria community has co-existed with the majority Luo in the region since independence and will look internally to gain their own county.

“The change of Constitution will still have Migori county in the next general elections. We seek to internally have a peaceful existence as we push for Kuria county,” Ghati said.

The three leaders said they had lobbied MCAs in Migori to unanimously reject the Punguza Mzigo Bill which sought to reduce constituencies and wards.

They said they have put all their faith in ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report to have their own county.

“We are keenly watching the report since what decision the community will make in the forthcoming polls will be heavily tied to our own county,” Kitayama said.

(edited by O. Owino)