Turkana loses bid to re­draw bor­ders and evict ‘out­siders’

Court says it does not have power to de­ter­mine bound­aries. It says there is no vi­o­la­tion of ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of the county, as this in­tegrity ap­plies to a state, not a county

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Judiciary - JILLO KADIDA @jka­dida

Turkana county has lost its bid to re­draw its bound­aries and evict peo­ple it calls il­le­gal set­tlers as it aims to pro­tect its ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity.

Constitutional court judges Isaac Le­naola, Wel­don Korir and Ge­orge Odunga yes­ter­day dis­missed the case, say­ing they do not have ju­ris­dic­tion to de­ter­mine bound­ary is­sues.

Al­ter­ation of elec­toral and ge­o­graph­i­cal bound­aries lies with the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Boundar- ies Com­mis­sion.

The judges said there is no vi­o­la­tion of ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of Turkana county, as it claimed, since this in­tegrity ap­plies to a state not a county.

In its suit pa­pers, Turkana county ar­gued its ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity has been in­fringed on by both state and non-state ac­tors.

The court was told that the provin­cial ad­min­is­tra­tion has cre­ated ad­min­is­tra­tive units within the county be­long­ing to or con­sid­ered to be part of neigh­bour­ing coun­ties.

The na­tional gov­ern­ment too is ac­cused of un­law­fully trans­fer­ring re­sources that be­long to the Turkana gov­ern­ment, such as Turk­wel Gorge plant, to neigh­bour­ing coun­ties. The plant in ques­tion was il­le­gally trans­ferred to Baringo county, Turkana says.

Ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers, some non-state ac­tors have breached the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of Turkana county by en­ter­ing its bor­ders and killing peo­ple, evict­ing them, maim­ing, rap­ing women and oc­cu­py­ing their land.

Com­pa­nies have been ac­cused of il­le­gally en­ter­ing Turkana and ex­ploit­ing its re­sources.

The county also com­plained of raids by peo­ple from Uganda, South Su­dan and Ethiopia.

In the county’s view, these have led to se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tions of the Turkana com­mu­nity’s rights and free­doms.

Turkana county sued the na­tional gov­ern­ment for fail­ure to pro­tect its peo­ple against the vi­o­la­tions.

It asked the court to hold the na­tional gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­ble for atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted by per­sons be­cause of its fail­ure to pre­vent hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions of Turkana peo­ple.

The county wants the na­tional gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment poli­cies or leg­is­la­tion that pro­mote the Turkana peo­ple’s fun­da­men­tal rights.

The case was op­posed by the state and two neigh­bour­ing coun­ties. They said the bound­ary is­sues can only be re-opened by the IEBC and the court does not have the power to do so.

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