Kisumu-Kericho sign peace pact to end border disputes

A man clutches at a spear as he mourns the death of one of their own at Thessalia settlement in Muhoroni, Kisumu County following ethnic clashes on the Kisumu-Kericho border. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kisumu and Kericho governors signed a peace pact on Friday to end the perennial border dispute between the two counties at Sondu.

In a deal brokered by a multi-agency team of officials drawn from the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC),  and National Government Administration Officers (Ngao), the two leaders met in Kendu Bay, Homa Bay County and ratified the deal.

Speaking during the signing of the pact titled ‘Kendu Bay Declaration’ on Friday, Kisumu Governor Professor Anyang Nyong’o and his Kericho counterpart Dr Erick Mutai said they were committed to promoting peace, cohesion, and security in the region.

“We affirm our dedication to fostering peace and prioritising youth empowerment programmes to address marginalisation and skirmishes,” Prof Nyong’o said.

“We also pledge to enact legislation supporting coexistence, and suspend revenue collection until boundaries are established, and develop a cross-border conflict transformation model,” he added.

Dr Mutai said the boundary row has sparked tension among traders along the border town, slowing down investment in agriculture and microfinance sectors.

“We have made enormous strides to put an end to the Sondu border squabbles, which have had a ripple effect of violence and ethnic tensions in the once vibrant economic and cultural melting pot border town between Kericho and Kisumu Counties,” Mutai said.

For long, the two counties have differed over the location of the boundary which demarcates the devolved units at the Sondu border town.

This has caused intermittent clashes over the years that have led to the loss of lives and property in both communities.

The leaders said boundary disputes should not be allowed to fester and destroy the prospect for economic development in the counties.

Part of the resolutions passed included respecting of the administrative boundaries set by the IEBC by both counties.

The leaders also agreed to unveil a peace monument in Sondu town within 60 days, in a process to be guided by the clergy and elders from both communities.

NCIC chairperson Dr Simon Kobia said the Commission is committed to addressing and reducing inter-ethnic conflicts and would not sit and watch inter-county border disputes that threaten to destroy peace and stability.

The two counties have often differed over location of the boundary which demarcates the two counties.

Leaders from Kisumu County have claimed that the original boundary between the two counties was behind Sondu Police station, which was in Kisumu County until 1992 when it was taken back to Kericho County.

But their Kericho counterparts argue that the boundary is at Maraboi near Nyamiroka and stretches to Kapsorok and Koru.

In the past, Kisumu’s effort to start collecting taxes in the market has met stiff resistance from Kericho officials who accused their counterparts of trespass.

Both sides often trade accusations of trespassing over the disputed market boundary that has been the source of tension for a long time.

By AFP 17 hrs ago
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