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Senators warn governors against re-drawing county boundaries

By Hillary Mageka
Monday, September 21st, 2020
Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr
In summary

Senators have raised an alarm over what they have termed as “expansion tendencies” by some governors ahead of the delimitation of boundaries by the electoral body.

The lawmakers are alleging that some county chiefs are abrogating themselves undue powers and re-drawing decades-old boundary disputes.

They have warned that if the county bosses continue with the habit, they are likely to ignite a fireball in the country.

Led by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior, the legislators want the electoral body to stand down the boundaries delimitation process scheduled to kick off in September 30th, 2020.

“The only way to protect the counties through the BBI is to protect their boundaries. The Senate must be clear that we cannot delimitate constituencies and wards and leave counties,” Mutula Junior said on Thursday.

He added: “The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) must be told to stand down until we deal with the question of boundaries.”

Labelling the boundaries delimitation as tickling time bomb, the Makueni lawmaker likened the expansion policies by governors as those of Hitler in 1944 and 1945.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is mandated by the constitution to review the names and boundaries of constituencies at intervals of not less than eight years, and not more than twelve years.

In addition, the commission shall review the number, names and boundaries of wards periodically.

However, any review conducted by the electoral body, the supreme laws says, shall be completed at least twelve months before a general election of members of Parliament.

“If a general election is to be held within twelve months after the completion of a review by the Commission, the new boundaries shall not take effect for purposes of that election.” Article 89 (4) says.

Some of the affected counties with contentious boundary dispute according to the senators includes Baringo-West Pokot-Turkana (Kapedo), Taita-Taveta-Makueni (Mtito Andei), Machakos-Makueni (Konza City), Kitui-Machakos, Kiambu- Machakos, Isiolo-Meru, and Kiambu-Murang’a among others.

With the latest being a border dispute between Kisumu and Vihiga counties, where Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o last week unveiled Maseno as a town alongside other five urban centres that will acquire new status namely Kombewa, Katito, Muhoroni and Ahero.

Already, Sh40 million has been allocated by the Kisumu county for the first phase of the improvement of Maseno town's water and sewerage, road and lighting infrastructure, solid waste management and tourism development.

“This planned development, though in good faith, will most likely only work to increase hostility and animosity around Maseno area, especially from residents of Vihiga County because it is being undertaken on a contested area,” Vihiga Senator George Khaniri said in protest statement, claiming the boundary issue is both emotive and contentious.

“The boundary dispute between Kisumu and Vihiga counties at Maseno is a historical issue that spans many years back,” he added.

Since development must be undertaken and residents’ concerns addressed, Khaniri advised that there must be consultation and public participation when county leadership decides to undertake development activities.

“The residents around Maseno, especially the Vihiga side, have concerns that include access to services, expenditure of revenue collected, management of the institutions in the area and employment. These are all valid concerns that must be addressed,” the senator noted.

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