By Eastern Newspaper Correspondent
Residents of Kangutu market in Chuka, Tharaka Nithi, recently uprooted a Kathwana Municipality signpost erected in their area, sparking fears of inter-community frictions.
The residents in the Chuka/Igambang’ombe Constituency side said the signpost welcoming visitors to Kathwana Municipality which is in Tharaka Constituency, had the potential to cause division among the two sub-tribes.
The residents said they were shocked when they woke up in the morning to find the signpost written ‘Welcome to the Municipality of Kathwana’ erected deep in Chuka territory, and demanded that it be transferred to a spot near their border with Kathwana.
“We are in Chuka area but in the morning found the Kathwana signpost on our land. This means we slept in Chuka but found ourselves in Kathwana in the morning!” said Justa Kaimuri, a resident.
Chuka/Igambang’ombe Business Association (CIDA) and Njuri Ncheke elders termed the erection of the signpost at Kangutu which is about 7km from Chuka town, was an affront to residents.
CIDA Chairman Gitari Keya and Njuri Ncheke National Organising Secretary Mutegi Kiunga led their members in support of residents’ decision to uproot the signpost, saying it had the potential to cause division between Tharaka and Chuka residents.
Mr. Keya said Chuka town residents aspire to be awarded a municipality status and will resist any attempt to deny them the opportunity.
“We fear there is a plot by some forces to shift a section of Chuka population to Tharaka side. Kangutu area has thousands of residents and we want Chuka to have the population threshold to become a municipality,” Keya said.
He said the Association is contemplating going to court as they suspect there is a plot to extend the border and deny Chuka residents their rights.
Mr. Kiungo said whoever erected the signpost did not consult the elders and residents, and the right procedure had not been followed by those who did it.
“They erected it at night. There is a procedure that must be followed on boundary issues. The right place to place is at the entrance of Kathwana area which is far away, not near Chuka town,” said Kiungo.
Isaac Mugo said there was a need to investigate those who erected the signpost and action taken against them.