Meru-Isiolo border conflict fuelled by land, claim leaders

Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi

Despite Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery warning leaders against worsening disputes between communities, Meru political leaders led by Senator Kiraitu Murungi have given Isiolo herders 48 hours to leave the county.

The herders are currently grazing their livestock in the northern grazing zone.

Kiraitu claimed the current cattle rustling incidents, which have resulted in several deaths, are part of a wider plan by the Isiolo County government to flush Meru people out of their land.

“We will not allow that to happen. It is not our livestock that they want. Isiolo County government want our land.

“They want to instil fear in our people so that they run away from their farms. They will kill others today or tomorrow because they are bent on taking our land. We know the political game they are playing. We do not want their animals in our land again,” alleged Kiraitu.

Some MPs have accused the Government of laxity on the issue but Kiraitu defended President Uhuru Kenyatta. “President Kenyatta has done no wrong. He sent Interior Cabinet Secretary Nkaissery and other security officers and it is the security who are not working. If they have to be sacked for security to be restored, so be it,” said the senator.

Igembe North MP Joseph Eruaki said the Borana herdsmen who have occupied the area must leave in 48 hours.

“Meru is tired of burying their people. We need more Kenya police reservists (KPR) because we need their guns to defend our people. The Borana have many KPR and many illegal guns but we have nothing,” he said.

County Woman Representative Florence Kajuju said the Government should disarm the Boranas.

Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi heaped blame on the Government, saying: “The deaths have happened when the Government is sleeping on the job,”Linturi.

He said the lack of a Government official at the funeral service to deliver a message of condolence from Uhuru meant he did not have Meru’s interests at heart. He called a meeting on November 7 to discuss the way forward. Imenti North MP Rahim Dawood said if the Government cannot protect the Meru people, they will protect themselves. His Igembe Central counterpart Kubai Kiringo called for border demarcation.

But, Isiolo Governor Godana Doyo dismissed the allegations as baseless and said it was an attempt to divert people’s attention from the real issues. Doyo called on the Government to move with speed and demarcate the boundary between the two counties to stop the conflicts.

The governor called on leaders from the two communities to embrace peace and harmony. “The leaders are running away from the real issues. They should work with Isiolo leaders to reach an amicable solution,” Doyo said