Inside Politics

Nyamira wins long-standing border dispute over Keroka

Friday, February 16th, 2024 06:00 | By
Nyamira wins long-standing border dispute over Keroka
Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo follows the proceedings in court yesterday. PHOT/Evans Nyakundi

Nyamira county government yesterday won a long-standing boundary dispute with neighbouring Kisii county over the location of Keroka town.

The 11-year-long boundary dispute over  Keroka town was yesterday finally brought to rest after the Lands and Environment court sitting in Nyamira town made its pronouncement over the matter, ruling in favour of Nyamira county.

The court through Justice Kamau Mugo relied on the report of the team of experts drawn from National Land Commission (NLC), the Survey of Kenya and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to make its landmark ruling.

The boundary dispute case had been lodged by Rigoma Ward MCA Nyambega Gisesa who had asked the  Land’s  Court  to offer  guidance on the exact boundaries of the two counties in the  Keroka town, and the general demarcation of the general boundaries of Kisii and Nyamira counties.

Justice Mugo then ordered the Attorney General Justin Muturi to appoint a surveyor from the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning who doesn’t come from the two counties to supervise the exercise of ascertaining the exact boundaries of the two counties.

 Team of experts

The team of experts who were led by Joseph Munyendo, an Assistant Director Survey and Caro Manyange, a manager at the IEBC and Gerishon Otachi (NLC) moved to the ground and came up with the report which they tabled in court he used to make his ruling.

Nyambega had prayed to the court to cause the NLC to investigate, survey and erect beacons to clearly demarcate the boundaries in pursuant to Article 67 of the constitution and section 15 of the NLC Act No.5 of 2012 and resolve the smearing boundaries dispute pitting Nyamira and Kisii counties over Keroka Market Centre

In the report, the team analysed that they used districts and provinces Act 105 a of 1992 revised 2012 maps of Nyamira and Kisii constituencies and county ward maps published and printed by IEBC in 2012 to come up with the verdict.

They also relied on Kisii and Nyamira districts boundary maps with land registration sections revised March 1970.

From the survey, they came to the conclusion that most of the built-up areas at Keroka fall in Nyamira county.

Boundary dispute

The report also indicated that the ascertainment of the boundary was based on the existing records kept by the office of the director of survey. Therefore, the ascertained   are factual and reproducible.

They also indicated that it was prudent to have the boundary line at Keroka market defined with permanent beacons for the knowledge of the general public and the administrators and service providers to know their areas of jurisdiction .

The team also noted that counties were created out of then districts as described in the Act 105 hence they have the same respective boundaries .

Making the ruling, Justice Mugo said there was no boundary dispute in the town but the issue of revenue  tussle .

“The boundary dispute   started during the tenure of governors, the late John Nyagarama (Nyamira) and James Ongwae (Kisii) who were both serving their second terms and the former Nyamira senator Okongo Mongare and his Kisii county counterpart Chris Obure,” Mugo stated.

He ruled that the boundaries still remains as per the report of the team of experts adding: “I am cautioning against any person who may interfere with it”.

“Land and boundary issue are emotive and I don’t  want to see the prevailing peace disrupted over a non existent issue,” he added.

On the issue of revenue collection, the judge referred the matter to intergovernmental  agreement which the two counties signed in 2014 .

“If you fail to agree in the governmental meeting, then the aggrieved party can move to court for further directions,” he added.

The Kisii county government through advocate Achieng Oginga hinted it could challenge the ruling in the Court of Appeal.

He also sought for the stay of execution but the judge declined to grant them.

Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo who was present in court and petitioner Nyambega welcomed the ruling.

Kisii governor Simba Arati was however nowhere to be seen as the landmark ruling was delivered.

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