Meru-Tharaka border row escalates as locals protest

Friday May 19 2017

Police work to restore order after Meru and

Police work to restore order after Meru and Tharaka Nithi leaders clashed at Kaboto market in Tharaka-Nithi County on May 18, 2017. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The land row between Tharaka-Nithi and Meru counties has escalated, with residents of Tigania West and Imenti North barricading roads demanding action from the government.

Residents of Kwang’ombe in North Imenti blockaded the Giaki–Kwa-ng’ombe road on Thursday night, cutting transport between the two counties.


Kwang'ombe resident Alex Kaburu told the Nation that their demo was sparked by the destruction of their market stalls.

This comes after chaos rocked Kaboto market when leaders from Tharaka-Nithi and Meru clashed over the border dispute.

“We are holding peaceful demonstrations because stalls belonging to traders from Meru were destroyed,” he said.

“We learnt that there was chaos at Kaboto and we fear that peace may be disrupted. We are blocking the road until action is taken to restore calm.”


He said they kept vigil throughout the night to protect their goods in the stalls from being destroyed.

Meru police commander Nelson Taliti said he had dispatched a team of officers to restore order in the area.

On Thursday, Tigania West MP David Karithi urged the government to take stern action against Tharaka South Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) John Ayienda, whom he accused of disrupting his meeting, leading to the chaos at Kaboto.

Mr Karithi said the administrator stormed the meeting as he issued a Sh400,000 cheque for the construction of an assistant chief’s office.


Addressing the media at Slopes Hotel in Meru town, the lawmaker said the DCC was being used by aspirants to incite locals.

“I’m asking the government to take stern action against the DCC because he is creating tension between residents of Tharaka-Nithi and Meru.

"If it’s about the border row, it will be resolved by the National Land Commission and county government. The border row is not his mandate," said the legislator.

He said the DCC wanted him to end his meeting in the area, which he insisted was in Tharaka-Nithi and not Meru County.


Mr Karithi, while asking locals to coexist peacefully, said Kaboto has been located in Meru County since the colonial era.

“I’m asking residents of Tigania West and Tharaka not to be divided by politicians,” he said.

“I’m asking administrators and other government officials to desist from engaging in divisive politics.”


On Thursday, hell broke loose when Tharaka-Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa and Senator Kithure Kindiki confronted Meru's Tigania West Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Alfred Makau over the matter.

Mr Ragwa and Prof Kindiki became angry when Mr Makau snubbed their peace meeting at Miomponi market near the border and proceeded to visit Kaboto market in Tharaka-Nithi.

Governor Ragwa accused the government of declining to resolve the border issue.