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Governors call in elders to solve border conflicts

Thursday September 20 2018

Kisumu-Kericho border row

Koguta villagers move with their belongings after clashes along the Kisumu-Kericho border in 2014. Governors under the Lake Region Economic Bloc have resolved to use traditional elders to resolve boundary disputes. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RUSHDIE OUDIA
By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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Governors under the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) have resolved to use traditional elders to resolve boundary disputes and forestall spats between members.

This, they said, would provide lasting solutions to issues that have been causing skirmishes over the years.

Mr Wycliffe Oparanya, Kakamega Governor and LREB chairman, said they would hold a meeting with elders from four counties to analyse conflict trends and the underlying issues.

There have been sporadic skirmishes on Kericho, Nandi and Kisumu counties’ borders. Other rows have been witnessed on the Kisumu-Vihiga border in Maseno, and on Nyamira and Bomet borders.

COEXISTENCE

A boundary squabble between Nandi and Kisumu counties recently led to calls by Nandi leaders for return of land they claim was ceded to Kisumu in the colonial era.

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“As a bloc, we are committed to promoting coexistence, good neighbourliness and peaceful settlement of disputes as provided for in our agreement,” Mr Oparanya said.

He was speaking on Wednesday at the bloc’s offices in Kisumu where he was accompanied by Nandi Deputy Governor Yulita Cheruiyot and LREB acting chief executive officer Abala Wanga. He said member counties would produce elders to resolve the matter.

Kakamega will produce 10 elders, Kisumu 15, Kericho 10, Nandi 20 and a few from Bomet. “These elders will have a forum on Thursday during the summit to chart the way forward,” Mr Oparanya said.

IEBC

The move comes months after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) maintained that it would not resolve boundary rows between warring counties.

Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said their mandate is limited to constituency boundaries and that only Parliament can alter county boundaries.

He indicated that the 290 constituencies would be maintained unless the Constitution is changed through a referendum.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang stirred controversy recently when he indicated that he would petition IEBC and National Land Commission to seek re-adjustment of borders to have Miwani, Kibos, Kibigori, Kopere, Chemelil and Muhoroni towns within its borders.