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Nandi County claims seven towns along border with Kisumu

By Rael Jelimo | May 28th 2018 | 3 min read
A picture showing a section of Kibos Town in Kisumu County taken on July 10,2016. The town is among the seven that Nandi County has laid claim on. [File, Standard]

A border dispute is simmering after Nandi laid claim to seven towns in neighbouring Kisumu County.

The towns are near the border of the two counties.

Nandi County wants the National Land Commission to re-adjust its common border to place Chemelil, Muhoroni, Miwani, Kibigori, Kibos, Koru and Kopere within its borders.

The towns adjacent to the railway line traversing the two counties are rich in resources, boasting of large-scale rice and sugarcane farming, among others. 

Nandi claims the towns were initially on its side but were taken away during the colonial era and placed under Kisumu.

“The county will be presenting a formal petition to the Land Commission to adjust the current Nandi-Kisumu administrative border with intent to return Nandi's ancestral homes along Chemelil, Kopere, Koru, Kibos, Kibigori, Miwani, Muhoroni and all surrounding areas near the said towns,” said governor Stephen Sang when he met NLC commissioners on May 17.

Officials claim

The areas claimed are along the Nyando River, which officials claim served as the natural border before the Nandis were displaced by settlers.

Some of the towns Nandi is claiming, such as Kibos, are barely 10 kilometres from Kisumu Town.

Nandi has already constituted a team of legal experts, who include land and litigation lawyers Jane Masaa and Henry Keneito, to draft the petition.

The team will also look into all historical land injustices Nandi County claims were meted out to its people.

Other members are George Tarus, Awi Kibet, Nancy Jeruto, Maureen Chepng’etich and Anne Munyua.

Lands executive Jacob Tanui will lead the team that includes other top county officials.

Yesterday, Kibet said the petition was ready, and only awaiting the governor's signature.

“The county legal team is in the process of fine-tuning the petition that will be handed to the governor before it is officially presented to the NLC on July 10,” said the lawyer.

In response, Kisumu County government, through communications director Aloice Ager, claimed the petition could be politically motivated.

"We have not been notified of the petition, but if it is true, it proves that the constant clashes along Kisumu-Nandi border could be politically instigated with the aim of seizing land and properties along the border," Ager said.

"The border issue is resource-based, with an intent to take control of key industries, especially along the sugar belt. Kisumu County has proof of its people who lived on the borderline before their expulsion by the colonialists. We have families who are ready to prove that these were their original lands," said Ager.

Kisumu County further claimed that the petition ties with another by the neighbouring Kericho County, which is claiming Sondu area.

"Kisumu is under siege. Even Kericho is claiming that Sondu Town is theirs. We have maps to show where the beacons lie," Ager said.

Nandi claims residents of Nyanza living in the disputed towns came in as labourers in cane and sisal estates put up by colonialists.

“The Nandi were forcefully evicted from their ancestral homes in Chemelil, Muhoroni, Miwani, Kibigori, Kibos, Koru and Kopere by white settlers who intended to keep them away from the railway line,” reads the petition in part.

Sang said NLC had a mandate to investigate the claims and make recommendations on proper course of justice.

"We hope they will investigate our petition to review the border with an open mind. The county’s aim is to end the constant clashes along Nandi/Kisumu border,” said the governor, who accused the defunct Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission of failing to adequately address the issue of historical injustices.

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