The boundary dispute among four counties that structure the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) in Western Kenya will take longer than anticipated to resolve.
The lapsed units should hang tight for the making of an advisory group to achieve a success win arrangement rather than experiencing the court procedure.
This is the case as the National Lands Commission (NLC) has recommended that the Independent County Boundaries Commission be established to deal with the issue.
“Petitioners are advised to await the establishment of the commission as proposed under the County Boundaries Bill, 2015,” ruled NLC in the Kenya Gazette notice of March 1.
The County Boundary Bill seeks to define the boundaries of the counties through establishment of County Boundaries Mediation Committee.
The bill sets out in detail the manner in which the boundaries of the counties are to be altered and will ensure that a high threshold will be met by any party desiring to alter the boundaries of any given county.
The recommendation by the NLC arose from complaints by the Nandi Royal Trust claiming thousands of hectares of land along the Eastern region of Kisumu County.
The disputed land covers Chemelili, Muhoroni and Miwani Sugar Companies.
The NLC, however, dismissed the petition by the group arguing that it does not meet historical land injustice criteria.
The boundary disputes involve Nandi, Kisumu, Kericho and Vihiga counties.
Vihiga County is claiming part of land in Kisumu County occupied by Maseno University while Kericho County wants to reclaim part of the land it alleges was halved to Kisumu County during colonial era.
Governors from the counties invited community elders and other stakeholders for peace talks during the LREB summit held in Nandi-Hills to help resolve issue.
“The sporadic skirmishes among the four counties has caused anxiety among our people. As leaders, we have resolved to find a lasting solution to the underlying issues,” said Mr Wycliffe Operanya, the LREB chairman.
The governors are out to capitalise on the regional economic bloc to promote socio-economic co-operation among the local communities through trade investments.
“As a bloc we are committed to promoting peaceful coexistence, good neighbourliness and peaceful settlement of disputes,” explained Mr Oparanya.
The bloc focuses on investments in the agriculture sector-crop production, dairy farming, sugar cane cultivation and conservation of the Mau water catchment areas.
“There is need for communities residing along the common border to coexist peacefully and resort to legal process to resolve such historical land injustices,” appealed Nandi Governor Stephen Sang.
Interviewed residents appealed to the governors to hasten the process of resolving the boundary dispute to promote trade investments in the region.
“The two counties stand to lose heavily in terms of revenue generation due to insecurity fears unless the government moves fast and resolves the boundary dispute,” said Grace Atieno, a fisher monger from Songhor market.
Traders in such markets like Chemelil, Muhoroni, Kibigori and Miwani among others have businesses across the two counties.
But calm has been restored along the border of the four counties following the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga a year ago.