Governor Achani vows to fight for locals as boundary row rages


Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani. [Robert Menza, Standard]

Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani has assured residents of Mackinnon Road in Kinango sub-county that their land will not be taken away.

Achani, however, said she would follow the law following a boundary dispute between Kwale and Taita Taveta county.

Taita Taveta is claiming Mackinnon town which it says was irregularly transferred to Kwale County some years back.

Taita Taveta obtained a court order recently allowing it to collect revenue from the town and deposit it in the two counties' joint Account.

Achani asked residents not to pay levies where they do not benefit from development.  "How will you get development in Kwale if you pay your taxes in another county?" She posed.

Kwale county government has declined to be part of the joint account signatory and several traders in town have also resisted paying taxes to Taita Taveta revenue officers claiming that they do not get services from that county.

In her speech during the 61 Madaraka Day celebration at Sobibor grounds in Mackinnon town on Saturday, the Kwale governor called on the county leadership and residents not to take the law into their own hands despite the dispute.

"The row did not start yesterday. It has been there for a long time. Do not take the law into your own hands over this dispute, be patient," she said.

Achani was accompanied by Kwale County Assembly Speaker Seth Kamanza among other leaders.

Mackinnon residents led by Boniface Mwatela claimed that police were taking sides in the boundary dispute and were allowing Taita Taveta residents to hold demonstrations in Mackinnon Road Town.

They appealed to Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki to ensure that Taita Taveta residents do not stage demos in Mackinnon.

Mwatela, a former assistant District Commissioner, wondered why residents of Marungu and Maungu in Taita Taveta were allowed by police to hold demos in Mackinnon Road Town.

"Police should not take sides in this dispute. Why are we not allowed to hold demonstrations in Maungu? Ferrying people from there to hold demonstrations in Mackinnon Road Town under police protection must stop," he said.

Taita Taveta County has deployed 11 revenue officers to collect levies at Mackinnon and deposit the money in a joint account.

"We know and it is well known historically that Mackinnon Road is in Kwale County.

A local businessman Chiwaya Chuphi said the boundary between the two counties was well marked and Mackinnon Road Town is in Kwale County.

"There is a beacon marking the boundary several kilometres away from Mackinnon town towards Taita Taveta county and we are surprised that this matter has dragged on for years. The boundary is clear from Bachuma gate 

But Mwatela said colonial and post-colonial boundaries clearly show the area is in Kwale county.