Fresh Kisii, Nyamira intercounty border row sparks tension in Keroka

Fresh Kisii, Nyamira intercounty border row sparks tension in Kenya

A fresh border row between Kisii and Nyamira Counties is stoking new fears of another round of bloody skirmishes especially in the contested Keroka town.

The revenue rich own posts a population of about 100,000 people and straddles between Kitutu Masaba ( Nyamira) and Nyaribari Masaba (Kisii) constituencies. .

It’s daily cess collection oscillates between Sh 7 and 9 million according to sources in both ends .

Rigoma MCA Nyambega Gisesa (UPA) has reignited the debate on the lucrative town and filing a petition in court as result.

The contents of the petition have ruffled features in Kisii.

Gisesa is insistent wanting more of the town to Nyamira side, arguing against the half a loaf to each side in an early settlement.

The forner investigative journalist has loaded the two page petition with historical injustice

The assertions have sparked fury, and tension is in the mix especially among the hundreds of traders doing business in Keroka .

Instructively, similar border claim from Nyamira stirred a weekong skirmish dragging goons into a street fight occasioning two deaths.

Others, especially revenue officers traded in stones.

One officer lost his teeth in the confrontations.

Later, an intercounty arbitration team sat and agreed that the yellow line running along the tarmac be used as the borderline to end the border tiff..

It had stayed in force till Monday this week when leaflets begun circulating at night.

They were found on stalls in Kisii side of the town and want the traders in the entire town to begin remitting cess to Nyamira County revenue staff today Thursday. .

Gisesa, had filed his petition before Justice Mugo Kamau ( pursuant to Articles 67 of the Constitution and section 15 of the National Land Commission Act, No. 5 of 2012)

He largely argues that Kisii was already eating much into Nyamra territory.

He not only wants Keroka , but other vast swathes of lands bordering Kisii town at Jogoo area handed to Nyamira .

At stake in Kisii are lands covering the i Agricultural Training Center(ATC) where the Kisii Governor has set up a residence with an also an office annex at the Farmers Resource Centre.

Other significant portions entail the Agricultural Research Institute-Kisii (KARI Kisii) and parts of Getare and Jogoo areas.

Keroka, argues the former Daily Nation reporter argues, belongs to Nyamira County in its entirety.

The arguments mock the agreements already reached in 2013 by former governors James Ongwae and the John Nyagarama, now deceased.

Restive Kisii traders on Wednesday wrote off the former journalist turned politician’ claims terming them wild, sensational and lacking merit .

In the petition, Gisesa remains insistent through out that revenue collected from the contested regions should be used to grow the Nyamira economy and not Kisii. .

His petition, he says, is inspired by his residents, “the bulk who feel aggrieved by how Keroka is balkanused to the advantage of Kisii” .

“I moved to court after 212 residents of Keroka petitioned me to intervene and help them find a solution to the boundary disputes where they continue to be harassed by officials from the said counties competing for control of the market center resulting in destruction of property and injury to members of the public, ”

The residents in Keroka town, he writes, are forced to pay the same taxes to two different counties causing them confusion.

” They don’t even know from which county they should demand services and accountability for the taxes they pay”.

“Pending the inter-parties hearing and determination of the petition, the court should to issuean interim order that the Nyamira County be the sole authority issuing business permits and levying county taxes in Keroka.,” part of the petition avers.

He further wants Nyamira to be the sole authority issuing land rates in the contested town.

The petition seeks to prohibit the County Government of Kisii and its agents from collecting revenues in Keroka.

The petition has however not gone without challenge with a section of Kisii Ward Reps asking Gisesa to be find time with the elders to school him afresh on the history of Keroka.

On Wednesday, Wycliffe Siocha (Ichuni) and Christopher Ogoti (Nyamasibi) called out on the former Kenya Somali war correspondent to stop beating war drums.

They want him to respect the boundaries as set by the forefathers.

“At 30, he should has some learning to do from the elders who had founded Keroka and where residents from have been coexisting in peace as sisters and brothers for long,” Siocha stated

Kisii Governor Simba Arati is yet to give public comment on the turn of events.

Siocha, wants Gisesa to seek better inspiration from the report of the arbitration team that was draftedby former governors John Nyagarama (Nyamira) and James Ongwae (Kisii).

“If he is young, he should consul those reports, they can school him rather than seeking to open pandora box full of worms. We are same divided by a thin line of identity and should maintain the peace he found when he was elected,” stated Siocha.

Gisesa however says there was no report by the arbitration team.

The Star establishes that arbitration teams had unanimously set the yellow line along the tarmac as one separating the two counties in the contested Keroka .

There is, however, still scarce data on the decision reached on Kisii’s Jogoo area.

Gisesa strongly disagrees that Keroka should be in Kisii

“Keroka was originally in Nyamira and should be treated as such,”he told the Star in a text.

The sentiment, however, met vehement objections from elders at Keroka who warn of potential skirmishes similar to what occured in 2014.

They warned that said some dark forces were misusing Gisesa’s political naivete to cause fresh outbursts of violence among a people that regard each other as brothers.

“If Gisesa wants to redraw boundaries then he should consult the elders who know better about this town, if not he should agree to the dictates of the arbitration report which settled on the yellow line as the border,” stated Elijah Akenga, an elder.

Siocha said Gisesa was elected within a vote boundary zone, the borders of which he must respect.

He denied existence of the said historical injustices instead asking him to call.

He said he no inch of Kisii side of Keroka would be ceded to Nyamira.

“The advice to them is to improve the business environment on their side so that the traders can do business and pay tax, until they do so, the grass here would always look greener for people like Gisesa,” he said.

Nyamasibi MCA Christopher Ogoti says Gisesa was chasing hot air.

” He is milking political capital out of a stale thing, “Ogoti told the Star.

He said no wants to see blood spilled again in the town over what was already squared out


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