Kuria leaders demand own county to address ‘marginalization’

Former Migori Senator Wilfred Machage (Centre) speaks during a press conference at Kiikalloh Resort in Machakos County on December 18, 2019. The leaders claimed they had been marginalized since Independence and they want the creation of their County to be in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) agenda. [John Muia, Standard]

A section of leaders from the Kuria community have demanded the creation of ‘Kuria County’ in order to address what they term as ‘exclusion and marginalization’ of the Kuria nation.

Addressing the media at a Machakos hotel on Wednesday afternoon, the leaders, including senior politicians and professionals under the banner of ‘Kuria Leadership Caucus’ asked President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and Deputy President William Ruto to ensure the proposal for the creation of the new devolved unit is granted priority in the proposed amendments to the Building Bridges Initiative report.

Leading the calls were former Migori Senator Wilfred Machage and MPs Marwra Maisori (Kuria East) and Mathias Robi (Kuria West) who claimed the proposal by the Kuria community to have a county established for purposes of inclusion and equity was ‘heavily referenced’ in the BBI submissions but excluded in the final report made public last month at Bomas of Kenya.

“The Abakuria community has been marginalized in Kenya since independence. Our voice has not been heard at national and county level and we have suffered systemic and constant marginalization and we are still suffering the same 56 years later as evidenced in the recently released BBI report,” said Robi.

Robi added that the BBI taskforce received adequate proposals by the community calling for the creation of Kuria County to address the social and historical injustices mated against the locals but failed to include that particular proposal in the final report.

He claimed the exclusion of the said proposal in the final BBI report was ‘an extension’ of the historical and social injustice against the community which has been yearning for social and political independence.

“In the past constitutional processes including Bomas 1, Bomas 2, Kilifi 1, Kilifi 2, Kuria had been considered for special county status on grounds of marginalization only for it to be dropped at Naivasha in unclear and unexplained circumstances,” said the Kuria West legislator.

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He said it was unfair to grant other regions county status despite having comparatively less population.

“We are cognizant of the fact that Lamu, Taita Taveta, Tana River and Isiolo counties have county status yet in the current census report we have equal or more population. We, therefore, demand that Kuria be granted a county,” he said.

He went on to say: “Big communities at the national level that complain of being excluded because they claim they have never been able to produce a president are themselves guilty of marginalizing some communities living in those counties.”

His sentiments were echoed by Kuria East MP, Marwa who said the Kuria issue must be addressed with sobriety. We need our own county because we are not getting adequate representation and equity in the distribution of resources and government jobs in Migori County where we are in right now,” said Marwa.

Prof Machage said marginalization of Kuria community was historical. “We are Kenyans just like the rest and we deserve fair treatment. We thank President Kenyatta’s call to have voices of all Kenyans heard in order to strike a compromise in matters of equity and representation,” said Machage.

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Kuria Leadership CaucusKuria CountyUhuru Kenyatta