A section of elders and professionals from Ijara Sub County in Garissa are now calling for the elevation of Ijara to a fully-fledged county.
The elders, while expressing their support for an amendment bill in the National Assembly sponsored by Kuria East Member of Parliament Marwa Maisori which seeks to amend Article 98 of the Constitution to include the five additional counties, want Ijara to be added on the list.
Just yesterday, Ijara MP Abdi Ali and ODM nominated MP Umi Harun joined the push for additional counties and called for curving of Ijara from Garissa county claiming that the sub county has enough resources to stand on its own.
Today, during a press briefing in Garissa led by Dubat Amey, the elders claimed that Ijara has for a long time been marginalized from Garissa due to its distance from the county headquarters and thus denying it the required development.
They further alleged that the constituency has enough population and square kilometers to have its status elevated to a county, which will help in reaching the area residents easily for development projects.
“If there are going to be the creation of more counties in the country, we want Ijara to be included. Ijara is one of the oldest fully pledged districts with all government offices operationalized,” Amey said.
“We have been marginalized from Garissa for a long time. We want our own county so we may take the services close to our people,” he added.
Yussuf Abdi, one of the professionals in the group, proposed that Ijara, Bodhai and Hulugho be delimited from Garissa and be part of the new Ijara county.
“We have been having our conversations around the ongoing debate about additional counties in the country. As part of Kenyans we want to add our voice to this discussion by expressing our support to this effort,” Abdi said.
“Ijara has unique things, in particular, the unique giraffe and the hirolas, unique conservancies. We have more resources that qualify us to become a county,” Abdi added
Harun Mohamed said that Ijara was among six districts; Teso, Mt Elgon, Kuria, and Mwingi that were created in 1992 by the then President Daniel Moi and which have been included in the proposed amendment bill.
“During the Constitution making process, Ijara was among the 74 districts that were proposed to be counties but due to other reasons, it was left out. We believe we need to re-look at how the constitution makers settled on the 47 counties and see if we can have a few additions,” Mohamed said.
If the area leaders and elders succeed in adding Ijara to the proposed list of areas to be elevated to counties, and the bill passes in Parliament, it will see Ijara county delimited from existing Garissa county, Kuria County from the existing Migori County, Teso County from the existing Busia County, Mount Elgon County from the existing Bungoma and Trans Nzoia Counties.
The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2022 also seeks to delimit East Pokot County from the existing Baringo and West Pokot Counties; and Mwingi County from the existing Kitui County.
If the bill sails through in the National Assembly and the Senate, it will be forwarded to the 47 county assemblies where it will be required to receive a nod from at least 24 counties.
After passing the threshold from the county assemblies, it will be forwarded to the voters to make the final decision through a referendum.
If the constitutional amendment passes, it will see an increase in the number of counties from 47 to 53.
By Erick Kyalo