New law to resolve county border disputes, Senator Khaniri says - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 22 October 2021

New law to resolve county border disputes, Senator Khaniri says


Vihiga Senator George Khaniri is confident that the boundary dispute pitting his county and Kisumu in Maseno and 17 others across the country will be resolved after the Senate passed the County Boundaries Bill, 2021.

Mr Khaniri, who co-authored the Bill with his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Junior, yesterday said the Senate passed it last week and it’s now headed to the National Assembly for consideration.

Speaking at Khumuseno on the outskirts of the disputed township, Mr Khaniri assured locals that the row will be addressed through law and not by fighting.

The long-standing dispute, dating back to 100 years, is the cause of tension between Vihiga and Kisumu counties after each laid claim on it.

In June, Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney caused a stir when she told the Senate the township falls in Kisumu County, angering Vihiga residents and leaders .

Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Mr Khaniri asked the CS to keep off the disputed boundary, saying the matter was being handled by IEBC and the Senate.

Collecting levies

In June, Mr Khaniri said he has evidence that Maseno belongs to Vihiga County and noted that he has presented it to the Senate in his push for the formation of a commission to look into the matter.

Various counties have been feuding over boundaries, with the bone of contention being who gets to collect levies in the disputed areas.

Mr Khaniri says the proposed law will give effect to Article 188 of the Constitution.

Article 188(1) states that the boundaries of a county may be altered by a resolution recommended by an independent commission set up by Parliament.

Further, Article 188(2) notes that altering of county boundaries should put into account the population density, demographic trends, physical infrastructure, history, culture, cost of administration, views of the affected communities, the objects of devolution and geographical features.

Similar disputes

While addressing the gathering at Khumuseno, Mr Khaniri exuded confidence that the dispute could end soon.

The township hosts key institutions, among them Maseno University, Maseno School, a mission hospital as well as headquarters of the Anglican Church, Maseno North Diocese.

The senator insisted that it’s through the County Boundaries Bill that the matter, among similar disputes across the country, will be resolved amicably.

Ms Karoney, through a report she presented to the Senate in June, indicated that some of the disputed boundaries had maps that show that they were not in dispute.

The CS said then that Maseno was in Kisumu and not Vihiga. The boundary description places Maseno town in Kisumu County. 

“However, being a border town, its growth makes it flow over to the neighbouring counties of Siaya and Vihiga,” Ms Karoney told the Senate.    BY  DAILY NATION  

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