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February 23, 2019

Abolishing Lamu constituencies will kill county, ex-MP tells IEBC

Flags fly at a Lamu administrative offices in this undated photo. /FILE
Flags fly at a Lamu administrative offices in this undated photo. /FILE

Scrapping Lamu East and Lamu West constituencies will lead to dissolution of Lamu county and expose the residents to further marginalisation, former Lamu woman rep Shakila Abdalla has warned.

The politician said the planned boundaries review by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission should be done within the county.

"To save Lamu county not to fall under any other county, the boundaries need to be reviewed within the county to balance the existing population," Abdalla said on Saturday.

She posted her sentiments on her Facebook account. The IEBC plans to conduct a second boundaries review after the 2019 census.

The first was done in 2010 by the Andrew Ligale-led Boundaries Review Commission.

Twenty-seven counties are likely to be scrapped if they do not meet the population threshold of 133,000 set by the Constitution.

However, this threshold might rise, given the expected increase in population figures.

Lamu West and Lamu East, which are the only two constituencies in Lamu county, are among the 27 that may be scrapped.

According to the 2009 census, Lamu had a population of 101,539 people. Lamu West had a population of approximately 82,698, while Lamu East had about 18,841 people.

Other low population constituencies at the Coast are Mvita, Mwatate, Wundanyi, Voi and Bura.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said the review should not be pegged on population.

He said Mvita is an urban constituency and has high population during the day.

"It is the daytime population which feels the need for government services. We are an urban constituency. People only move to the neighbouring constituencies during the night because houses are cheap there," Nassir said last week.

From other regions, the constituencies facing dissolution are Galole, Isiolo South, Kilome, Laisamis, North Horr, Saku, Siakago (now Mbeere North), Ndaragwa, Tetu, Mukurweini, Othaya, Kangema, Mathioya, Samburu East, Marakwet East, Keiyo North, Mogotio, Vihiga and Budalang’i.

The Wiper politician proposed reorganisation of the wards to meet the population threshold and, if possible, introduce a third constituency.

"So, with honest determination, we should merge Kipini with Lamu West and bring back Amu town to Lamu East, instead of dissolving Lamu county," Abdalla said.

Kipini is an area in Witu ward,Lamu West constituency, and lies in the border of Lamu and Garissa counties. Part of Kipini is in Garissa county.

Amu town, on the other hand, is in Lamu West. Abdalla said with the mega projects in Lamu, including the Lapsset, the population of the county is expected to increase to more than 1.5 million in future.


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