Following Isiolo and Meru leaders meeting, Meru County and it’s leadership are demanding border demarcation as per the 1992 Districts and Provinces Act. The Act transfer big chunk of land to Meru County. What options do we have for Isiolo? The Isiolo leaders may consider the following:
1. Declare the dispute with Meru County officially in all the relevant offices such as Office of the President, Summit of National and County Government, Council of Governors, IEBC, National Land Commission, NCIS, relevant Parliamentary Committees for both National Assembly and Senate etc. This should be done by a competent team of lawyers.
2. Urgently form a committee that will work with lawyers and follow up on this matter conclusively. Special participation is expected for the Former MPs in whose reign the District and Provinces Act was passed 26th June 1992. As part of the institutional memory, we need their side of the story to understand what transpired in parliament. This will assist the lawyers. Other members of the committee need to be carefully selected to include those leaders, elders, youth etc who were part of community initiative for similar purpose prior to 2013.
3. While the laws are not cast on stone, especially taking into account sensitivity tribal grievances, this can only be actualized with united and focused leadership. It requires sustained campaign rather than a “touch” and “go” strategy.
4. Leaders and lawyers should be cognizant of the best principles and practice on border disputes resolution takes into consideration a number of issues rather than transferring a line on the map to the ground. When disputes are declared, history, geography, socio-cultural, politics, economy and views of the community to various boundary review commission will neatly come into play.
5. The leaders and lawyers should link the current disputes as part of historical injustice where Meru leaders took advantage of the Shifta to claim land belonging to Isiolo. And that this systematic campaign has continued unabated due to misuse by Meru of their position in national power matrix including in the institutions dealing with land.
6. Leaders and lawyers should be in a position to highlight the protection of the rights of the minority and indigenous community by the Constitution of Kenya.
7. The community may demand for the determination of territorial loss to Meru County as a result of declaration of emergency, administrative restrictions by the NEP and Contiguous District Regulations of 1966. This evaluation can be based on the boundary as at 1963 and consequent amendments ably moved by the late, Adan Wako Bonaya, the former MP for Isiolo South Constituency on 31st October, 1970 and the illegally Revised Bill moved by Jackson Angaine compared to the current status.
8. Leaders and Lawyers should be in a position to show the illegitimate transfer as well as arbitrary establishment of government institutions such as police posts and schools in disputed border areas by Meru County and leaders to legitimize their claim.
9. Lawyers to advise on the best way forward.
10. As an interim measures, Isiolo County leaders should openly declare that the current conflict is in flagrant violation of the Nanyuki Accord between Isiolo and Meru Counties leaders, which declared moratorium on any border activities that could ignite conflict.
11. The lawyers and Isiolo leaders should pursue a tripartite agreement with Meru County and the National Government on the position, deployment, composition, mandate and activities of the security forces or any other activities along the Isiolo and Meru Counties. This will allay a widespread concern among the local people about the partiality of the security forces deployed along the border as well as expansion activities along the borders.
12. The leaders and the legal team should point out that anything short of the tripartite agreement of Isiolo, Meru and National Governments will reinforce the widespread feeling that security forces along the Isiolo and Meru borders are more of an occupation force than a protection force. And that the security forces along Meru – Isiolo border are deployed to abet the expansionist design of Meru County and it’s leadership.
13. The current Members of Parliament to sponsor an amendment motion to The Revised Districts & Provinces Act, 1992