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
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.