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Tana River want boundary issue resolved

03 May 2012, 16:59 Alloys Musyoka

Tana River residents have petitioned the government through the Speaker of the National Assembly to address the issue of boundaries between Coast and North Eastern in three months period.

They said if the government fails to address the issue within the given three months period residents will come out and solve it themselves by all means.

Addressing Tana DO George Kamweru when they presented their petition to him after demonstrating yesterday they said that their land will not be taken away by any body as they watch.

They demonstrated along Holla town streets bring business activities in the town to a stand still vowing not to let even an inch of their land to neighbors who plans to move the current boundary from the three miles from the River and make the River itself the boundary.

Led by their spokesman Tana-River county aspiring governor Mandara Badribu they said the government has been paying a deaf ear for long now over the issue.

They claimed that regional or county boundaries are constitutional and have been there since independence and that no one is allowed to move them like their neighbors from North Eastern are doing.

They claimed that residents from North Eastern are attempting to move the colonial and constitutional boundary from the current three miles from Tana River and instead they have claimed the River should be the boundary between Tana River and North Eastern.

“We will not allow our land to be taken even an inch our people will protect it by all means if the government fails to address the issue in time,” he noted.

tana river protests

According to the petition presented to Kamweru, it stated that the issue of boundaries between Coast and North Eastern has been a thorn in the flesh for quite a long time with different regimes and provincial administration paying a deaf ear to it.

“We want to tell our neighbors of Ijara and Garisa who have never been respecting this boundary in no uncertain terms that people of Tana River know their boundary and they are fed up with their acts of aggression, provocation and intimidation to conflict,” it reads adding that they are peaceful and law abiding citizens.

tana river protests

The petition also read that the issue should be discussed in parliament and resolved once in and for all in a period of three months warning that failure to which Tana River residents will take any legal action or redress or otherwise.

It also wants people of Ijara and their leadership should desist from provocative pronouncements, stop expansion and furtherance of any settlement resources to Garissa County.

They want people of Tana River to be left uninterrupted to continue with their activities within their boundaries as the issue is being solved.

Former assistant Minister for Economic planning and infrastructure Japhet Zakaria Kase said the government should not assume the locals cry.

tana river protests

He said Tana River residents should not be underrated because of their silence and that they are not ready for violence.

Kase said Tana River residents should not be forced to change the boundary as it was there before and that they are not the one who came up with it.

Omar Athman Mohamed a colonial administrator warned that if the government failed to address the issue in time the county may be taken over by North Eastern Kenya claiming that there was plot since 1963 by Somali government to take over North Eastern Kenya to be Somali.

Mohamed told journalists in a meeting between first president of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga led 86 delegates in 1963 when he accompanied them to Somali where Somali president Adan Cade requested Kenyatta to allow North Eastern to be part of Somali when Kenya get independence but government officials rejected.

He said after Kenyatta and his delegate rejected the plan by Somali government then there were introduction of Shifta whom he claimed have continued fighting Kenyans in a bid to take North Eastern to Somali.

Mohamed warned that if the  government fails to address the issue in its urgency then Somali people will finally settle in the area and take the region back to Somali as they had planned back 1963.

Tana River DO Gorge Kamweru assured protesters that he will make sure their petition get its way to the parliament through the required channels.

He promised them that recent president Mwai Kibaki statement that no body will change boundary of any region in the country that will remain in force.

“There is no boundary in this country which will be changed by anybody from its originality at any given time as the president said recently,” he noted.

Kamweru reminded locals that president Mwai Kibaki said was is and it will remain to be the boundaries of the country and that that statement will not be changed.

He appealed to residents in the region to remain calm and create the culture of peace as well as maintaining peace and order as the government embark on addressing their problems.

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