Kindiki warns leaders against politicizing Meru-Tharaka Nithi border row

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has warned politicians against inciting residents along the Meru-Tharaka Nithi border.

For years, a conflict over land ownership and a boundary dispute has existed along the border of the two counties with residents engaged in violent fights.

Scores have died and others injured in these conflicts.

The conflict has been more pronounced during the electioneering periods as politicians try to project themselves as 'land-rights defenders'.

While attending a fundraiser at Chaaria in Central Imenti on Sunday, Kindiki told residents and leaders the issue would be resolved in a matter of days, even as he warned politicians against politicising the matter.

Kindiki said while every community had its challenges, he would not allow the land conflict to continue. He called for unity among the Meru and Tharaka Nithi people.

"We have issues between Imenti, Tharaka, Tigania, Igembe. We are one family and I want to assure you this problem that has existed for years is going to come to an end," Kindiki said.

Kindiki said he will take action against those using the issue for political gain.

"I was senator of Tharaka Nithi for 10 years and (Senate) Majority Leader and Deputy Speaker. I never incited Tharaka Nithi people to attack those in Meru," said Kindiki.

The CS said politicians who might be tempted to incite the people along ethnic lines will be treated like criminals and will not be spared if found culpable.

Kindiki said it does not matter on which side of the border one has land as people had the right to land anywhere.

Meru Speaker Ayub Bundi, Majority Leader Evans Mawira and Majority Whip Jim Muchui said they wanted people to live peacefully.

"Everybody has a right to own land anywhere and nobody will be chased from their land irrespective of where it is," Bundi said.

Bundi called for a meeting of area leaders and affected residents along the border to foster unity.