Taita-Taveta County Governor Granton Samboja has escalated his dispute with the Kwale county government by saying he will not relent in his effort to reclaim Mackinnon Road Township from Kwale.
The governor said that he will not keep off as warned by his critics and vowed to deploy revenue and law enforcement officers in Mackinnon Road and Mtito-Andei townships despite intimidation from his counterparts.
Mr Samboja claimed these towns were “illegally grabbed” by Makueni and Kwale counties, respectively and must be reclaimed for the benefit of the Taita Taveta county.
“I am not a coward as many people may think. I will take over the management of the towns and no amount of intimidation or threats will deter me from taking over what is rightfully ours. We have documentary evidence showing that the towns belong to the county,” he told The Standard.
“I will not react on what my counterpart in Kwale County has said. I will respond to him (Salim Mvurya) at an appropriate time. But what I can tell you is that I will deploy my officers this week and I will let you know when and there is no intimidation will stop me from taking over the towns which legally belong to my county,” maintained Samboja.
“Let them continue making noise and wild allegations against me. The truth of the matter is that my counterparts in Kwale and Makueni have no documentary evidence which I already possess,” he added.
The governor claimed that Mackinnon was grabbed to boost the population growth of Kwale so that it can benefit immensely from resource allocation and distribution from the national government.
The governor blamed Chiefs and their assistants from Kwale for complicating the boundary dispute by illegally sub-dividing land in the town and allocating it to people from outside. “I am the President of this county and land grabbing will come to an end,” he warned.
Last Friday, Samboja and local elected leaders stormed Mackinnon Township with local elected leaders despite protests from Kwale leaders.
Kwale leaders noted they had learnt with great shock about the Taita-Taveta county leadership attempt to invade Mackinnon Road and Ward in Kwale, declaring it part of their county.
“This is a violation of Kwale residents’ rights and freedoms,” said a statement by Mr Mvurya’s spokesman, Daniel Nyassy.
Kwale leaders claimed Mr Samboja’s visit to the town has raised tension between Taita-Taveta County and its neighbours, Kwale to the east and Makueni to the west, whose residents are Taita, Duruma and Kamba.