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New boundaries haunting Ligale

Saturday November 27 2010

Chairman of the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission Andrew Ligale (left) with the chairman of Justice and Legal Affairs Ababu Namwamba during a press conference at Continental House in Nairobi, on Friday. Mr Ligale handed over the report by his commission to the team. PHOTO/STEPHEN MUDIARI

Chairman of the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission Andrew Ligale (left) with the chairman of Justice and Legal Affairs Ababu Namwamba during a press conference at Continental House in Nairobi, on Friday. Mr Ligale handed over the report by his commission to the team. PHOTO/STEPHEN MUDIARI  

By EMEKA-MAYAKA GEKARA [email protected] And NJERI RUGENE [email protected]

The physical boundaries of the disputed 80 new constituencies, which have sparked controversy and become the subject of a court case, can be revealed on Sunday.

A report by the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission details the wards assigned to the new constituencies.

Mr Andrew Ligale, the chairman of the commission, on Saturday said that he had handed over the report of the physical boundaries to the Government Printer for publication after the court case is determined.

Mr Ligale was reluctant to share it with the media, but a copy of the report in a form of a draft Gazette notice independently obtained by the Sunday Nation shows that boundaries of the new constituencies will revolve around a cluster of wards.

It also indicates that portions of some constituencies which were not split were relocated to the new electoral units, a move likely to win support from some politicians who have already criticised the division.

The Ligale-led commission was ready to publish the boundaries on Friday had they secured a favourable ruling in a court case on the matter. However, the High Court ruled that the initial orders barring the gazettement of the 80 constituencies would remain in force.


Judge Daniel Musinga said the Ligale commission ought to have clearly determined the physical boundaries of the new constituencies. “Without clear borders it is impossible to know the basic information like the number of voters in the constituency,” said the judge.

A study of the report shows that some new constituencies have as many as 22 wards while others have as few as two. For instance, Karen-Lang’ata constituency which was hived off Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Lang’ata constituency is among those with the least number of wards.

The electoral unit, which is home to the city’s wealthy and influential elite, will constitute Karen and Lang’ata wards. Kibera, the other of Lang’ata’s constituency, comprises Woodley, Makina, Sarangombe, High Rise Location, Laini Sabaa, Golf Course sub-location in Golf Course in Kenyatta Ward and Lindi Wards.

But on Saturday evening, a new list was being circulated to the media just before Mr Ligale’s farewell party. In the list, a new constituency called Kawangware had been created in Cabinet minister Beth Mugo’s Dagoretti constituency and Nairobi West constituency which was in the initial list scrapped.

The list circulated on Saturday evening shows that Kawangware will consist of Katina, Kilimani and Kawangware wards. Kenyatta Golf-Course ward and Woodley, which were in Dagoretti, were moved to the newly created Karen-Lang’ata constituency.

Contacted to comment on the new developments, Mrs Mugo said she was not satisfied with the manner the exercise was carried out. She accused the Ligale team of failing to consult widely. She alleged that the boundaries in Nairobi were done to create ‘‘safe’’ constituencies for ODM.

The new Parklands constituency comprises three wards – Parklands, Highridge and Kitsuru while Jomvu, which was hived off Changamwe in Mombasa County, brings together Jomvu Kuu, Miritini and Kwa Shee wards.

The other small constituencies are Ruaraka which comprises Kariobangi and Korogocho wards and Roysambu with Githurai, Kahawa and Roysambu wards.

This leaves assistant minister Elizabeth Ongoro’s Kasarani with Kariobangi and Korogocho wards. However, some new constituencies have more than 15 wards. Pokot South constituency, for instance, has 22 wards, Samburu North (20) Soi (11), Teso (12) and Borabu (10).

On Friday, Mr Ligale presented the boundaries report to the House Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. And on Thursday, Mr Ligale had presented the same report at a meeting chaired by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

At the meeting attended by the Cabinet Committee on Coalition, it was suggested that the list be further reviewed to accommodate grievances by leaders especially in areas still identified as Nairobi, Upper Eastern and Central provinces.

In the review, Mr Ligale was asked to “reorganise” Nairobi to reflect equity and subject Mombasa and Kisumu to the maximum population criteria ought to have been used for division of constituencies in cities. The Ligale commission applied the criteria agreed upon in Naivasha only in Nairobi.

The Harambee House meeting was told that if applied, it would see a lesser number of constituencies in Mombasa and Kisumu which will then be “freed for redistribution” to aggrieved regions (see separate story on Ligale’s formula).

Sources familiar with deliberations in the closed-door meeting told the Sunday Nation that Mr Ligale said his commission considered population density, geography and community interests in determination of the boundaries.

According to the notice, the new Nyali constituency will constitute Shanzu, Free Town, Maweni, Nyali-Mokomani and Kongowea wards some of which were initially part of the populous Kisauni constituency.

The new Lunga Lunga constituency, which was hived off Msambweni in Kwale County, will bring together Vanga, Kasemeni-Sega, Mwena, Kilima-Ngondu and Dzombo Wards.

The new Rabai constituency in Kilifi County will constitute Kawala, Jibana, Kambe, Ruruma, Ribe, Kaliang’ombe, Mugumo-wa Patsa, Mwaweza and part of Rabai wards.