A section of coast leaders have rejected proposals to merge counties and instead want the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report implemented.
MPs Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Ali Wario (Bura), Jones Mlowa (Voi), Suleiman Dori (Msambweni), Michael Kingi (Magarini), Owen Baya (Kilifi North) and Paul Katana (Kaloleni), among others, believe that implementing the TJRC report will address historical injustices.
The TJRC report outlines events that happened between 1963 and 2008 in regards to gross violation of human rights, economic crimes, illegal acquisition of public land, marginalisation of communities and ethnic violence.
The MPs insist that merging of counties would roll back the country’s progress since the 1960s.
Ms Jumwa said there was no need for counties like Lamu and Tana River to be merged, arguing that this would increase conflicts over land, which devolution has helped cure.
“We would rather they implement the TJRC report. The report has the answers to all the problems and injustices done to us. They range from land grabbing to extra-judicial killings. We need the report,” she says.
Bura MP Ali Wario said the TJRC report will help resolve the perpetual land problems facing the Coast region. Merging counties, he said, would kill devolution, which has greatly helped to protect the rights of marginalised communities. He reiterated that, despite challenges, devolution was crucial to the country’s economic development.
“Those pushing for the merger of counties should stop. We can’t go into a referendum to create a position of Prime Minister to serve an individual. Devolution has enabled marginalised communities get representations in government,” he said.
The Bura MP insisted that, if the country was to undergo the much hyped constitutional review, then the land issue in the country, and particularly at the Coast, should be given prominence.
Msambweni MP and chairman of the Coast Parliamentary Group Suleiman Dori said devolution had opened up even the remotest parts of Kenya. He said that leaders should stop fighting devolution and instead put their energies on ensuring it works.
“Devolution has given a voice to the mwananchi. Let’s give devolution a chance,” he said.