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Make Taita-Taveta, Kajiado counties border accord public – leaders

Barely days after Taita-Taveta Governor Granton Samboja and his Kajiado counterpart, Joseph Ole Lenku signed a joint boundary-dispute agreement over the disputed Rombo Group Ranch land, questions are emerging over the contents of the inter-county agreement that is yet to be made public.

On Saturday, Governor Samboja led a high-powered delegation of high ranking officials from his administration to sign what he termed as ‘historic’ resolution with Kajiado Governor Ole Lenku. This was to resolve a long-standing boundary dispute at Rombo Group Ranch in the Njukini area at the border of Kajiado Taita-Taveta.

During the meeting, Samboja said the agreement would enhance peace and unity in the area. On his part, Ole Lenku hailed the move stating that Kajiado had reclaimed land which was encroached on by a section of residents of Taita-Taveta County.

“This is a historic moment that proves we can resolve our differences by talking and agreeing,” said Samboja.

In his twitter handle, governor Ole Lenku said the agreement had enabled them to reclaim land that had been encroached by communities in Njukini.

“I urge the Kajiado people in the area to now utilize the land which has returned to them for productive economic activities,” reads part of his tweet.

Taita-Taveta leaders are now asking for the contents of this agreement to be made public as claims abound that the county might have ceded some part of its land to Kajiado.

Morris Mutiso, a former political aspirant in Taveta on Monday said there was need for the document to be made public, adding there were many people living in the disputed land who were now living in fear because of uncertainty on whether they fell under Taita-Taveta or Kajiado counties.

“There is an urgent need to know what changed in the boundary and if the local residents were affected,” he said.

When contacted, Senator Jones Mwaruma said that the exercise had no problem if it was led by expert surveyors who knew where the boundary was. He however said it would have been better for all elected leaders in the region to be involved and make it an all-inclusive exercise.

He added that it was not clear whether the exercise created new boundaries or merely reinforced the old ones.

“Changing of boundaries requires article 188 of the constitution. For inclusivity, there was a need to bring on board all leaders,” he said.

The senator said he was yet to get hold of the signed document and go through its content.

The Taveta MP, Naomi Shaaban said the issue of Rombo Group Ranch had become a security issue with fears that a section of residents in Njukini might be ordered to vacate the land after the exercise. She stated that in the 20 years she has been an MP, there was never a boundary dispute between Kajiado and Taita-Taveta County.

”What existed was a disagreement within the ranch over the boundary,” she explained.

The MP disclosed that Rombo Group Ranch straddles both Taita-Taveta County and Kajiado counties. Each part that falls in either county has its separate title deed. She stated that the dispute was between the two sections of the ranches on where the boundary separating them was.

“Rombo has two pieces of title deeds; one in Taveta and the other one in Kajiado. The issue that needed sorting was where the boundary between the two pieces lay,” she noted.

She warned that if the matter was not well handled, it was likely to cause tension and called upon the leaders to insist on peaceful coexistence of the communities in the region.

By  Wagema Mwangi

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