By Kuura Ibeere
The government through the Ministry of Interior and Coordination has frozen all land adjudication activities in the eastern region ahead of the general elections.
Speaking to the residents of Isiolo County after a meeting with development stakeholders from the region recently, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i observed that the government has discovered that the process is likely to cause animosity between communities if allowed to continue during this sensitive electioneering season.
The CS further revealed that some politicians had taken advantage of the process of creating new administrative units and land adjudication process to get political mileage hence making the entire process political.
‘We discovered that at this time of hot campaigns, some people seeking political benefits through hijacking this process. It is not acceptable because it can easily disturb the peaceful coexistence of communities in eastern and other regions in this country’ Matiang’i said.
He observed that the process would resume after the august 2022 polls when normalcy will return after the vigorous political season that has preoccupied the minds of the majority of residents in the affected areas of the counties of Isiolo, Meru, Samburu, Marsabit, and other areas.
‘As a government, we know the importance of taking services closer to our people through the creation of new administrative units like sub- locations, locations, and divisions, but peace and security override this factor, this is the reason why the national government has frozen the exercise’ Matiang’i added.
There have been land and boundary issues in most counties in the region a situation that has forced many leaders to initiate measures of looking for a lasting solution to the thorny issues that most times hinder development and interrupts the delivery of crucial services from the government and other stakeholders.
These county boundaries that have reported conflict and issues in recent years include Meru and Isiolo, Meru and Tharaka Nithi among other areas most brought about by grazing activities, water, agriculture, and other administrative issues.
Most boundary issues and conflicts arise during the electioneering period when politicians use the land issue in an effort to woe voters to support their political ambitions.
The northern part of Meru County and the lower parts of Tharaka Nithi have never solved their land-related problems to allow a proper land adjudication and issuance of title deeds to the residents.
Samburu, Marsabit, and Isiolo counties that are occupied by pastoralists have never had Title Deeds more than five decades since Kenya got her independence.
Only a small percentage of the land especially those near urban developed areas have leases and title deeds.
The national government warned county governments against legislations that can derail the process of solving land issues in the eastern region.
‘We are surprised that the county government of Meru through the County Assembly passed laws that prohibit their neighbors in Isiolo and other neighboring areas from grazing their animals like camels in the county, these are retrogressive laws that are killing the spirit of peaceful coexistence of communities in this region; Matiang’i said.
The Kiraitu Murungi administration instigated measures of preventing livestock owners from the neighboring counties from grazing in Meru County after a conflict between the crop farmers and the pastoralists that led to lost lives and property in the lower parts of the county.