Taita Taveta to deploy revenue clerks in disputed Mtito-a-Ndei and Mackinnon towns

Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime. [Robert Menza, Standard]

Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime will deploy more clerks to collect revenue in Mtito Andei and Macknnon towns, signaling an escalation of the boundary dispute with neighbouring counties.

Mwadime said Taita Taveta obtained a court order authorising his administration to collect cess in Mtito Andei which is also claimed by Makueni County. He said no amount of intimidation will deter him.

He appeared to respond to the recent incident where armed youth disrupted a public participation exercise organised by the Taita-Taveta County government in Mtito-Andei.

The youths allegedly from Makueni County pelted Taita Taveta Chief Officers Leonard Langat, Christine Mwakera, and other county officials with stones forcing them to flee.

Mtito Andei has been at the centre of a conflict between Taita-Taveta and Makueni County, with both counties claiming it.

“We have a court order in place and we will this year deploy revenue officials to start collecting revenue in Mtito-Andei and Mackinnon Road towns,” said Mwadime yesterday in Wundanyi.

Taita Taveta is also embroiled in the border dispute with Kwale County over Mackinnon township. Both counties Taita Taveta and Kwale claim the MacKinnon Township.

During the Jamhuri Day celebrations, Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo reportedly vowed not to allow even an inch of his county land to be taken over by Taita-Taveta County.

He said the boundary between his county and Taita-Taveta is at the Man-Eaters but Taita-Taveta county insists it is at Mtito Andei river.

On October 10, 2022, the Environment and Land Court ruled that Taita Taveta should continue to issue business permits and collect taxes in Mtito Andei and Mackinnon towns.

Justice Lucas Naikumi noted that the boundary dispute was being used by the three counties to subject the residents to double taxation.

The order was issued following an application filed by Makueni and Kwale Counties seeking orders to stop Taita Taveta from administering the two disputed towns.

“The two counties wanted the court to rule that the two towns are within their borders. The court has in the past ruled that application lacked merit,” Taita Taveta Deputy Speaker Anselim Mwadime.

“The issue has also been taken up by other institutions such as the Council of Governors, which is expected to summon the Governors of the concerned counties.

The Border Dispute has further led to disputes in the issuance of licenses and collection of revenue between the two Counties,” said MCA Mwadime yesterday.

The deputy speaker said the Makueni governor was on record, using his local language, purporting that the border between Taita Taveta and Makueni is at Man Eaters -Tsavo and that he will not agree to or allow the residents of Mtito Andei to pay taxes to the County Government of Taita Taveta.

” The border dispute is still active in the Court, which has not pronounced itself on the matter. The National Land Commission is yet to issue a stand on the matter,” said the statement.

The Council of Governors has also taken up the matter and is yet to summon the Governors of the two Counties to present their case on the issue.