The rate of which Tana River county is losing it’s land is alarming. Few days ago I was with an old Mzee talking about the issue and he told long long time ago the boundary of Tana River and Kilifi was River Sabaki then shifted to Marereni and now the current boundary.
I am told if it was not for Hon. Danson Mungatana who complained when IEBC were reviewing the boundaries, then the situation would have worsen. Thank God that was solved.
The same applies to Tana River/Ukambani boundary, I am told it is shifting from time to time, though we can not independently verify that.
The biggest problem is the Tana River/North Eastern boundary, which is a time bomb, and it needs sober and immediate solution.
When Ijara was made a district, the administration claimed that the boundary was at Sailoni. They comfortable said “Mpaka ni hii Rubber Dam” loosely translated to “The boundary is this Rubber Dam”. People did not take them serious until late 90’s I remembered like yesterday when the Garjal of Ngumu were forceful relocated from Danisa to Ngumu. The Ijara people used to send their K.P.R armed with AK47 to provide security to the newly opened Cattle Market at Ngumu. They also sent their revenue collectors to collect Tax from traders.
Honestly how can armed security men perform duties out of their jurisdiction areas? How can a Tana River (by then council) traders pay taxes to Garissa County council? but it happened. Thank God the Tana Delta’s District Officer of that time ordered a closure of the Ngumu Market. Up to date it has not been reopened.
It was a solomonic decision, given that early 90’s the Abdalla Somali of Ijara and Wardey of Tana River had a gun battle, hundreds of people lost their lives, Ngumu was one of the battlefield.
Once upon a time Garissa town was part of Tana River County but it was made the headquarters of North Eastern Province, the Government had to officially curve it out from Tana River. You can confirm this by checking off the maps.
Actually although the map shows that Tana River has 3 miles north of Garissa up to Mbalambala, on the ground Tana River has lost everything.
Today Mbalambala is recognised as NEP constituency and Garissa County adminstrative unit. Tana River has lost the area to NEP
Fafi District also strategically chose Bura East which is located on the Banks of river Tana as their headquarters in anticipation of having it removed from Tana river. ‘Tomorrow’ they’ll claim that Fafi area stretches up to Billbill near Bura.
Abaratiro was known as Baratiro and the area were farms belonging to Kinyadu and Kitere (Ndera) people but now it has been changed to Abaratiro and it is a location. It didn’t stopped there, recently the Ndera people learnt that the known lake Lemu name was changed to Lake Ishaqbin through a map presented to them by Northern Range Trust (NRT) when they were proposing to create Hilora antipope conservation sanctuary stretching from Ishaqbin community conservation to Ndera Community conservation. They did not take the lightly.
In 1998 when President Moi visited Garissa to officially open the Garissa Bridge. The NEP leaders submitted a memorandum to Moi to officially announce that the river is the boundary between Tana river and Garissa. Thank God the President refused to make Tana river the boundary.
In 2000 during the Constitution review process, the boundary of every County were to be described as an Annex to the Constitution. In describing Garissa County, they removed the three miles making the river the boundary. But they were not successful.
They also tried again to make the river as the boundary when President Mwai Kibaki was invited to open Majengo bridge after completion. The NEP almost convinced the Government that river Tana is the boundary, but the natives demonstrated, armed with placards they succeeded in derailing the announcement.
Last attempt was During recent BBI visits when they raised the issue again. It’s clear that making the river as the boundary is their number one priority, whether legally or by force.
One historian (name withheld) lamented that “the original name for Moqdisho was ‘Mui Wa Muisho’, was the last Swahili enclave but today after they were kicked out, hardly no one can believe it was one of course the city state under Sultan Sayed Said 1824. Kismayu ( Kisima cha Juu) was Shungwaya”. He foresee the same will happen to Tana River if they are not careful.
The Milalulu in Masabubu, the Ndera Kitere, Kinyadu etc, the Munyoyaya and Ilwana of Madogo and Mororo areas, The Pokomos, Ormas, Wardey of Bura East and the Ilwana near Milalulu are living in fear of being attacked by their neighbours as their land is grabbed. Yesterday we received unconfirmed reports that a a lady from Nderani was attacked by unknown herders believed to be from NEP after they invade her farm.
Some days ago the Tana River county provisional administration, security agencies and wazee from Wardey, Ormas and Pokomo held a public Baraza at Wenje and they agreed that foreigners who are invading people’s farms with camels should be returned to where they came from. The invaders are making themselves at home as they have settled and now they are creating a town near Baridi areas with thousands heads of camels.
Some abdalla Somalis from North Eastern now wants to settle at Ngumu area, they invade the area at night then disappear, though the area chief madam Martha and other leaders are try their best to solve the issue but i foresee another ethic clashes in the area as they are determined to settle in the area while the locals are resisting them. “wao wamesema wametumwa na chief wao wajenge pale” loosely translated to (“they said that they are sent by their chief to built and settle in the area”) those were the response from a Ngumu residence who talked to Pokomo Magazine on condition we hide his name.
One day there will be no pastures for Tana River people, misunderstanding will erupt between these foreigners and the natives. Also their continuous invading people’s farms might cause bloodshed between these foreigners and farmers.
We are requesting that Tana River County and Garissa County departments of Lands in conjunction with Directorate of Survey, the National Land Commission (NLC), the Ministry of Lands, Tana River and Garissa County commissioners and the National Police Service to move with speed and form a committee and solve the problem once and for all. Anything that might happen as results of these issues we will directly blame them.