Marginalisation and lack of representation is to blame for the recurrent conflict that has been witnessed in Mt Elgon region in Bungoma County, Senators have been told.
Members of the Senate Devolution Committee heard that the fact that members of the Sabaot community who reside in the area do not have a county of their own, has fuelled the bloody attacks.
Martin Ndiwa, a Mt Elgon resident explained to the House Team which is collecting public views on the County Boundaries Bill (2016) that it is only by giving the minority group a county that the wrangles will end.
“The Sabaot are a minority group, but they have been separated into two. The community members are in both Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia Counties, a move that has marginalized them further,” he said.
“Such community, should under the principle of self-determination, be allowed to be re-united with the rest of their members and further allowed to determine their boundaries. This is the only way that peace will be attained,” added Mr Ndiwa, as he contributed to the bill.
Over 30 people have lost their lives in the hands of a criminal gang under a period of three months, who have also maimed residents during their attacks that occur at night, a situation that forced Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to declare a curfew in the area on Tuesday.
Yesterday, Senator Falhada Iman (nominated) who chaired a session of the committee commended the petitioner, noting that he had raised valid issues that not only affect Mt Elgon but nearby regions as well.
“It is important that we have peace and tranquility in any area for members of the public to concentrate in developing themselves," said Ms Iman.
Senator Samson Cherargei(Nandi), a member of the commitee who was present said the House Team will factor in the concerns raised and come up with remedial measures.
Earlier a team from Isiolo led by Abdullahi Wako a former Isiolo South MP said the bill, sponsored by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr if enacted will address the historical grievances between Isiolo and Meru counties.
“The boundary between the Isiolo and Meru Districts have erroneously marked, a matter that has resulted in the loss of over 500 square kilometers of grazing land from Isiolo,” explained Mr Wako.
The bill by the Makueni Senator first seeks to define the boundaries of the 47 counties in the country and proposes the establishment of a committee to deal with any arising disputes among devolved units.
According to the bill, the committee will focus on mediation to arrive at a win-win situation as opposed to going through a court process that is not only time consuming but expensive as well.
It seeks to give effect to Article 188 of the Constitution on the alteration of county boundaries and clearly define them as set out in the districts and provinces Act of 1992.