- Expansionist tendencies by some communities, delay in the adjudication of the boundaries and recent discovery of natural resources in some areas fuel clashes
- Some of the disputes, the CS said, are historical with attempts by previous administrations to resolve them proving futile.
Political incitements, interference and scramble for resources are among the issues fueling inter-county boundary disputes currently pitting at least 15 counties.
Interior CS Fred Matiangi said that politicians seeking elections are sparking the emotive border debates to win over votes, leading to clashes, sometimes deadly.
“Political incitement and interference have contributed to the conflict especially before and during the election period. Some politicians bring up the issue of boundaries with a view to winning voters,” the CS said.
Also firing the tensions and the clashes are ‘expansionist tendencies’ by some communities, delay in the adjudication of the boundaries and recent discovery of natural resources in some areas.
Some of the disputes, the CS said, are historical with attempts by previous administrations to resolve them proving futile.
Matiangi made the disclosures in a report tabled before a joint Senate Committee on National Security, Defense and Foreign Relations and Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights.
The report was presented by Interior CAS Hussein who represented the CS during a meeting with the joint committee that is inquiring into the clashes over intercounty boundary disputes.
The investigation was triggered by senators who sought answers from the Ministry through the joint committee on the escalating clashes among communities allegedly over boundary disputes.
According to the report, at least 15 counties are engrossed in disputes over borders leading to physical fights.
They are Kajiado and Makueni that are fighting for a boarder at Oloirien, Baringo, West Pokot and Turkana are battling for Kapedo, Machakos and Makueni are fighting for Konza City.
Kisumu, Vihiga and Siaya counties are fighting for Maseno area.
Other counties embroiled in boundary fights are Garissa and Isiolo, Taita Taveta and Makueni, Kitui and Machakos, Kiambu and Machakos, Isiolo and Meru and Kiambu and Murang’a counties.
In the report, Matiangi said that the historical boundary conflict among Kisumu, Vihiga and Siaya counties has been fueled by the perceived exclusion of the Bunyore community in the management of Maseno University and other public institutions within the area.
In addition, the counties are also fighting over revenue with Vihiga claiming rights to collect revenue in the contested area thus aggravating the conflict.
“In recent history, leadership within the county incited some youths who uprooted Maseno school fence. The youths who were subsequently arrested were bailed out by a deputy governor,” Matiangi said in the report.
Political incitements, rivalry among university students, environmental conflict and clams of skewed development have also fueled tension at Maseno.
Machakos and Makueni are battling for Konza City due to opportunities that are expected to come with the completion of the Konza techno city.
Clashes along Baringo, West Pokot and Turkana border are sparked by tough and hard positions taken by the communities over the ownership of the disputed area, revenge tendencies, harsh climatic conditions are illegal possession of firearms.
Matiangi told the committee co-chaired by Kisumu Senator Fred Outa (Security) and Okong’o Omogeni (Nyamira) that his Ministry has instituted a number of measures to attempt to address the conflicts.
He said that his Ministry has arrested and pushed for punitive sentences to leaders inciting locals against the neighbours
In addition, conflict resolution committees have been set up in some areas, police operation and surveillance enhanced and communities sensitized to obey the rule of law.
The police have also enhanced investigations into the clashes. Pastoralists to be motivated to practice modern animal husbandry and only keep a number of animals that can fit within the land they have.
Matiangi appealed to Parliament to pass the necessary legislation to resolve the county boundary disputes.
Parliament is yet to legislate County Boundaries law to create a commission to review the boundaries and resolve the conflicts.
“The government [is] fast-tracking the marking of common border areas contested by the different parties,” he said.
Edited by D Tarus