Munya’s convoy attacked in Meru-Isiolo border row

Sunday September 28 2014

Meru Governor Peter Munya (centre) and his lawyers leave the Supreme Court on March 21, 2014. A border dispute between Meru and Isiolo counties could get out of hand if left unchecked.

Meru Governor Peter Munya (centre) and his lawyers leave the Supreme Court on March 21, 2014. A border dispute between Meru and Isiolo counties could get out of hand if left unchecked. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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A border dispute between Meru and Isiolo counties could get out of hand if left unchecked.

Aggression between the two counties over the border point played out when officials from Meru County removed a roadblock erected by their Isiolo counterparts at Ilat on Friday.

Meru Governor Peter Munya was touring the Nyambene National Reserve with his officials.

Isiolo residents reacted by attacking Mr Munya’s convoy near Sarova Shaba Game Reserve, injuring a driver, on Saturday.

Both counties have laid claim to Ilat, where the Isiolo County government has erected a tax-collection point.

DEMARCATE BORDER
Isiolo residents, who were with their governor, Godana Doyo, also destroyed police barriers and makeshift shelters used by officers in the disputed area.

Mr Doyo reassembled the roadblock that had earlier been removed at Shika Adabu.

Police from Isiolo Town had to escort Mr Munya and his entourage to Meru through an alternative route.

Mr Doyo accused Meru County of charging people from his county high levies on milk and other livestock products at the Gambela roadblock, but Mr Munya blamed the frosty relationship between the two counties on delays in demarcating the border.

“In December last year, we had agreed that the issue be resolved quickly. However, the process has taken too long,” the Meru county boss said.

Plans to mark the border had been agreed upon by leaders from the two counties after a series of meetings chaired by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku in Nanyuki.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the National Land Commission and the ministries of Lands and Interior were expected to resolve the row.

“We agreed that the process would be completed within three months. As a county, we don’t understand the delay, unless the national government has other interests,” Mr Munya said.

“We are asking the national government to urgently send a team of surveyors to help mark the boundary between the two counties,” he said.

The delay in fixing the border is also impeding economic development of the disputed area.

Ilat is seen as strategic due to the proposed Isiolo Airport, the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor and the Isiolo Resort City.

HAVE NOT BENEFITED

Meanwhile, the Turkana community at Epiding has accused the Isiolo County government of neglecting them.

On Saturday, they said they had not benefited from any development projects the county government had initiated.

“Although we are in Isiolo, the county government insists we are in Meru,” a community leader, Mr Gregory Ewoi, said.

“Surely, the Isiolo County government should consider us in its development plans because we are not in Meru County where they are pushing us to.

It is unfair to push us aside like this,” he said. Mr Munya says the Epiding case is hinged on defining the Meru-Isiolo border.