Terik community calls for neutral name for Nandi County

Wednesday January 9 2019

Prof Maritim Songok

Prof Maritim Songok, one of the professionals who want Nandi County's name changed, saying it gives prominence to the dominant group and promotes marginalisation in the region. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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A minority community in Nandi wants the county's name changed, saying it gives prominence to the dominant group and promotes marginalisation in the region.

The Terik say a neutral name would make the community feel part of the county.

Prof Maritim Songok and other Terik professionals said giving a county the name of the dominant group is wrong and asked the National Assembly and the Senate to look into the issue.

He said other counties whose names need to be changed are Embu, Meru, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Samburu, Tharaka-Nithi, Kisii, Taita-Taveta, Turkana and West Pokot.


Prof Songok, a scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, said naming a county after one community promotes marginalisation or assimilation of minorities.

“The Terik fought to regain their language and culture and Unesco even recognised us. However, the 2010 Constitution dealt us a serious blow by allowing the use of Nandi as the name of the county,” he said.

The Terik are found in Nandi, Vihiga, Uasin Gishu and Nakuru counties and it was only in 2009 when the community was given a code and differentiated from the Nandi.

Nandi Council of Elders chairman Joel Kitur said the community is willing to hold talks with political and religious leaders and other stakeholders on how to deal with the matter.


“The council of elders is willing to listen to all communities residing in Nandi County,” Mr Kitur told journalists.

“We have been holding peace meetings with communities, especially residents near common boundaries. The issues raised by the Terik will be discussed and we will involve the public.”

According to the 2009 census, the Terik are about 340,000, with 300,000 residing in Nandi County, about 20,000 in Vihiga and another 20,000 in Nakuru, Uasin Gishu and other parts of the country.

The issue of marginalisation came up during the Terik Cultural Day at Kapchemugung Primary School in Vihiga County where some members of the community reside.

The event was attended by Major (Rtd) John Seii and Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo.

The two leaders supported the call to do away with naming counties after particular communities.