At least two protests emerged over the weekend, after a visit by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to Meru and Isiolo counties.
The Borana Council of Elders, religious leaders and the Borana Professionals jointly condemned Dr Matiangi’s visit as “as ill-timed, unfortunate and violating the basic tenets of protocol.”
Separately, six of Meru’s 11 MPs walked off the CS’s consultation with local leaders at the county commissioner’s residence over a protocol hitch.
Senator Mithika Linturi and MPs Kathuri Murungi (South Imenti), Rahim Dawood (North Imenti), Maoka Maore (Igembe North), John Paul Mwirigi (Igembe South) and Josephat Gichunge (Tigania East) left the county commissioner’s residence in a huff after the CS’s programme allegedly had a last minute change to include presentation of Affirmative Action Fund cheques to women groups in Buuri constituency.
“We have been waiting here for three hours without any word on when the consultation is to start and decided to move on with our other programmes of the day,” Linturi said flanked by the other MPs.
Matiang’i who ordered the joint Isiolo and Meru security committees meeting to end insecurity along the Meru-Isiolo border interacted with Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, MPs Mugambi Rindikiri (Buuri) and Kirima Nguchine (Central Imenti) and scores of MCAs.
The provincial administration officials led by Eastern Regional Commissioner Isaaiah Nakoru also attended his meetings as did Public Service CS Margaret Kobia and National Youth Service Director Matilda Waswa.
“It is unfortunate that the local MPs have left because this was a golden opportunity to air their grievances,” Nakoru said at the leaders' meeting.
In a statement, the Borana leaders accused the Interior CS of taking sides in two border skirmishes involving the community and its neighbours.
“His visit was unannounced and suspect and….. (and issued) antagonistic directives for the immediate arrest of some unnamed individuals and Isiolo leaders,” the leaders claimed.
The Borana leaders claimed the CS was showing open bias towards Meru in the conflict over the Meru-Isiolo border and pastureland. They also accused him of favouring the Garreh (Somali) community in a separate conflict over pastureland and land ownership within Isiolo County.
“The overdrive exhibited by the CS is contrary to his handling of Isiolo-Garissa boundary conflict which he has snubbed to-date despite continuous build-up of tension, loss of lives and property,” they pointed out.
Citing evictions between 2011 and last year in the Ardha Jilla area in Tigania East situated between Kisima and the School of Infantry, the Borana leaders claimed 400 families were plucked from their land under the direct instruction of a Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) and his security committee.
“The CS directives are coming from fictitious accounts fed to him by the Regional Commissioner and the County Commissioner; who are holding brief for the immigrant Garreh Community,” claimed the statement.
Borana community leaders claimed they would push on with eviction of the Garreh community which is a subtribe of the Somali from their rangelands to stem environmental degradation and competition for pasture that threatened area security.