Leaders in Taita Taveta County have called for negotiations to resolve boundary disputes with its neighbours—Makueni, Kwale and Kajiado.
Led by Lands Executive Mwandawiro Mghanga, the leaders said the county is ready to resolve the disputes in an amicable manner to quell disquiet among residents. This comes after Lands CS Farida Karoney stated that the disputed Mtito Andei area is in Makueni County.
Taita Taveta has been claiming that a part of Mtito Andei is within its boundaries. Speaking in Voi, Mr Mghanga told Ms Karoney to keep off the dispute, adding that her remarks will flare the row.
Mr Mwandawiro said the county government has petitioned the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee to intervene after Makueni leadership declined to sit on a round table and resolve the dispute with the Taita Taveta administration.
"We are always ready for talks but our counterparts are not willing to resolve the dispute. We have tried to convene meetings with Makueni but they have never responded," he said.
He said the matter is also with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which is constitutionally mandated to indicate borders of all constituencies.
"Since independence, records state that Mtito Andei has been in Taita Taveta. During elections, IEBC has always established a polling station for Ngolia ward in Mtito Andei," he said.
The dispute took a new twist in June last year after Mr Mwandawiro led county leaders in demolishing a Makueni signboard at Tsavo River. The signboard had been erected by Makueni MCAs to mark the disputed boundary.
The county administration had also announced plans to start collecting taxes in the disputed town two years after a section of Mtito Andei residents assaulted Taita Taveta revenue officers for establishing an office there.
Mr Mwandawiro called on Makueni to come forward for talks to resolve the row.
Joint technical committee
Taita Taveta is also in dispute with Kwale over Mackinon Road area. But a dialogue between the two administrations is ongoing to resolve the dispute after Governor Granton Samboja and his Kwale counterpart Salim Mvurya agreed to settle the matter.
In June last year, the two governors formed a joint technical committee to come up with a report which would have been the basis of the truce. A year later, the committee is yet to finalise the report as expected. The matter has now been referred to IEBC.
Taita Taveta County has also been sued by a section of Njukini residents over the Rombo area in Kajiado. In May last year, Taita Taveta and Kajiado demarcated a boundary at Rombo to end a 50-year dispute between the two counties, a move that received a backlash from residents who claimed that Mr Samboja's administration had ceded part of county land to the neighbours.