Elgeyo Marakwet accuses its neighbours of encroachment

Elgeyo-Marakwet has raised the red flag over invasion of its boundaries by at least three neighbouring counties.

Governor Alex Tolgos said Baringo in the east, Uasin Gishu to the south west and West Pokot to the north had encroached on his county’s territory.

Speaking at the Metkei trading centre, the governor said: “Our neighbour Baringo has claimed part of our border saying they are the rightful owners and we have decided to move to engage elders and the governor of Baringo so that we secure our territories.”

He said West Pokot had also claimed parts of Kerio Valley in Marakwet East, disregarding the official boundaries.

“The solution to this encroachment would be only enlisting services of experts, including land surveyors, so that we establish our exact boundaries placed by the white settlers during the colonial period and put fresh beacons so as to realign them,” said Mr Tolgos.

The encroachment had occasioned conflicts in revenue collection, especially along border points.

Elgeyo-Marakwet is embroiled in a border dispute with Uasin Gishu County over erection of road barriers for revenue collection along the Eldoret-Flax -Chirchir-Kamwosor-Eldama Ravine road.

Elgeyo-Marakwet deputy governor Gabriel Lagat accused Ainabkoi MP Samwel Chepkong’a, whose constituency lies on the borders of the two counties, of interfering with the erection of barriers at Chirchir, Kaptagat and Brokley trading centres.

“It was wrong for a lawmaker, especially Mr Chepkong’a who is himself a lawyer by profession, to incite the public by using his position to prevent us from executing our mandate,” said Dr Lagat.

Mr Chepkong’a in response said: “I found furious locals on the road who were removing the barriers and I told them to go ahead because they were doing the right thing. The barriers belonged to Elgeyo-Marakwet and were put in my constituency, which is in Uasin Gishu. Now who is on the wrong between the two counties?”

“It was illegal for Elgeyo-Marakwet to erect road barriers and collect cess twice on the road which was maintained by Uasin Gishu County,” said Mr Chepkong’a on phone.