President Uhuru Kenyatta’s move to create two new districts in Kuria region has elicited varied reactions from local leaders and residents.
While on a campaign tour of the region on Friday last week, President Kenyatta announced the creation of Mabera and Ntimaru districts.
“You have asked for more districts. Mabera and Ntimaru are your new districts. They will receive new District Commissioners next week.
This is in line with my government’s efforts to bring services closer to the people,” said the President at Kehancha Town.
While scores of residents have praised the President’s move, others have criticised it, claiming it was likely to deepen the existing clan mistrust in the region.
A section of Kuria elders, popularly called Nchama, say the President’s move was a huge setback in their efforts to unite the clans.
Led by Mr Nyagusuka Beneti, the elders appealed to the President to reconsider the decision.
“The President should not have yielded to the demands of a few selfish local leaders to create these administrative units for political expediency,” said Mr Nyagusuka.
“We have been trying to unite all the clans in Kuria but giving each clan a district amounts to dividing them further,” he added.
The two new units will bring the total number of districts to four with each district hosting one of the four main clans: Bagumbe, Bairege, Banyabasi and Bakira.
The Bairege and the Banyabasi, who have been sharing Kuria East district, have in the past been engaged in conflicts over cattle rustling and clan supremacy, with the Bairege taking issue with Banyabasi’s perceived strong entitlement to the constituency’s leadership due to their numerical strength.
It is on this basis that the Bairege have been agitating for their own district which is Ntimaru.
On the other hand, the Bagumbe and Bakira in Kuria West have had a strained relationship.
The Bagumbe, who live in Mabera, claim they are not fully represented in the district.
“It is unfortunate that instead of the local leaders calling for coexistence, they have agitated for each clan to have a district.
The President should have looked at the bigger picture before creating the units,” said Ms Rahab Robi, a nominated member of the Migori County assembly, who is running for Kuria East MP.
Some of the residents also expressed their reservations on the matter.
“I don’t know how the creation of these districts will create development in Kuria region. What we needed most are development projects, not new districts,” said Mr Mwita Marwa, a resident of Kegonga.
However, there are those who supported the move, maintaining that it will create job opportunities for residents of the newly created administrative units.
They say they have done a lot for Kenyans and accused opposition of propagating falsehoods.