Bipartisan talks: Ruto, Raila teams reject creation of 23 more counties

Raila Odinga

President William Ruto (top left) and his Kenya Kwanza talks team and Azimio leader Raila Odinga (top right) and his team.

Photo credit: Nation Media Group

The National Dialogue Committee made up of representatives of President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga, has rejected a bid to increase the number of counties by 23, which would have brought the number of devolved units to 70.

Instead, the team co-chaired by Wiper Democratic Movement party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah, wants the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to investigate claims of perceived marginalisation and discrimination of key minority communities that sought to have new counties carved out for them.

The new counties the committee were told to create were: Wajir South, Sabaot, Mwingi, Kuria, Teso, Mount Elgon, East Pokot, Gucha, Suba, Ijara, Nakuru West, Turkana North, Turkana Central and Turkana South, Thika, Kiambu East, Kiambu West, Maragwa, Mbeere, Kieni, Molo, Suba and Embakasi City counties.

“Most of the appeals for creation of new counties were based on claims of marginalisation and discrimination of minority communities in some counties in terms of development, resource allocation, services delivery, employment opportunities and county leadership among other reasons,” the committee observed in its report dated November 25.

These reasons, the committee said, were not sufficient and could create even bigger problems.

“Establishment of counties along ethnic groupings poses a risk of ethnic balkanisation and further polarisation of the country,” the committee said.

It added that all that can be done is the expected boundaries delimitation to look into the issues.

“The National Cohesion and Integration Commission investigates the claims of perceived marginalisation and discrimination by Sabaot Community living in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia Counties; residents of Wajir South Constituency, Tiaty Constituency and Teso, Kuria and Suba Communities, with the objective of ascertaining the claims and extent of the marginalisation and discrimination and make proposals for promoting inclusivity and peaceful coexistence amongst different communities,” the National Dialogue Committee said in its report.