Officials held over Meru-Isiolo clash to appear in Court

By: DAVID MUCHUI

Three Isiolo County officials were Saturday arrested on suspicion of inciting violence last Friday.

They are Bulla Pesa MCA Moses Kithinji, Chief Officer for Trade Hudson Kinyua and Bulla Pesa ward administrator Witherford Mwirigi.

The three will be appear in court Monday alongside 10 youths arrested on Friday.

CATTLE RUSTLING

Persistent cattle rustling has left more than 10 people dead on the Meru-Isiolo border and ignited calls for demarcation of the disputed boundary.

While some leaders have blamed the insecurity on land speculation and the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor, on Saturday Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery warned against use of county boundaries to fuel disputes.

Nkaiserry was addressing a baraza at Gambela in Isiolo attended by Meru and Boran leaders.

An international airport is also being constructed in Isiolo which will also have a resort city and an international abattoir.

DISPUTED BORDER AREA

The disputed border area is crucial for Meru County which has been seeking land for various projects following congestion in Meru Town.

Meru leaders have laid claim to Chumvi, Gambela and Tractor areas.

However, Isiolo leaders have insisted colonial boundaries were clear and they would not allow Meru to annex a section of Isiolo.

Efforts to contain the protracted row led to the 2013 Nanyuki Accord between Isiolo and Meru County leaders, which put on hold any development in the disputed area until it was demarcated.

But the government wants the conflict to be viewed as not a resource-driven one but common thuggery, which is why on Saturday Mr Nkaissery warned against viewing criminal activities as ethnic differences.

ROLE OF NATIONAL GOVERNMENT

But others see the conflict as filling an authority vacuum.

Meru Governor Peter Munya called on the government to stamp its authority by arresting and prosecuting individuals involved in cattle rustling.

“Can we see the rule of law being enforced in this area? Why is the government not dealing with the menace?” the governor said.

“Whenever the two counties propose to start a project close to the disputed area, we are being blocked on grounds that we are invading a disputed area,” said governor Munya.

And in a warning reminiscent of the ones he makes in the North Rift after its predictable cattle raids and the resultant communal violence, the CS talked of mopping up illegally weapons.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION