Matiang’i diary clash confusion forces key Senate meeting flop

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 00:00 |
Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney at a past event. Photo/PD/FILE

A high stakes meeting convened by the Senate committee to deliberate on the boundary disputes between various counties yesterday failed to take off.

The Senate committee on National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations chaired by Kisumu Senator Fred Outa had invited Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution) and Farida Karoney (Lands and Physical Planning) to shed light on the disputes.

Others were chairmen Wafula Chebukati (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) and Samuel Kobia (National Cohesion and Integration Commission)

Strategic plan

People Daily has established that the meeting could not proceed as Matiang’i was scheduled to preside over the official launch of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Strategic Plan 2020-2025 at the Bomas of Kenya.

He was also booked to co-chair a meeting between the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee (NDICCC) and the Council of Governors (CoG) at the Kenya School of Government, Lower Kabete.

The meeting follows increased cases of inter-county boundary disputes in various parts of the country.

Following petitions by residents of various counties seeking the senate’s intervention resolve the conflicts; senators have called for the establishment of an independent commission to oversee delimitation of county boundaries.

The lawmakers have warned that the disputes might degenerate into a full blown ethnic clashes if not addressed before the high stakes 2022 General Elections.

When he appeared before the committee a fortnight ago, Lands Cabinet Secretary said establishment of an independent commission to oversee delimitation of county boundaries was the only solution into the rising cases of inter-county boundary disputes.

At least 18 counties are wrangling with others over boundaries, with the centre of the conflict being collection of levies, scarce natural resources like land, water and pasture.

Karoney said the mandate to adjudicate issues touching on county boundaries vests in an “independent commission” as provided in Article 188 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.

Karoney argued that Article 188 also provides for the establishment of an Independent Commission by Parliament to consider the question of alteration of county boundaries.

“Parliament is yet to enact enabling legislation to operationalise and implement Article 188 of the Constitution to help resolve the issues comprehensively,” the CS told senators.

While saying the boundaries of some of the 47 counties are not in dispute, the CS argued that the counties were created from the former districts established and described under District and Provinces Act (No. 11 of 1992)

Former districts

“Those districts had their boundaries demarcated, delineated, published and gazetted.

The maps are available at the Survey of Kenya office in Ruaraka,” she said, adding that in case of a dispute on a county boundary, reference is made to those maps.

The CS held that while the Constitution mandates Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to review constituency and ward boundaries, it does not extend the same role when it comes to county boundaries.

Article of the constitution states that the boundaries of a county may be altered only by a resolution recommended by an independent commission set up by Parliament.

Article 188 (b)(i) (ii) reads in part: “And passed by the National Assembly, with the support of at least two-thirds of all of the members of the Assembly and the Senate, with the support of at least two-thirds of all of the county delegations.”

While reacting to a petition by a section of Siaya, Vihiga and Kisumu residents filed with the senate last month, the lawmakers accused the National Assembly of sitting on their legislation. 

More on News