- Kwale and Taita Taveta have laid claim to the Kuranze mining zone which is home to several gemstone miners.
- They are also entangled in a boundary dispute over Macknon Road area, each claiming that it is within their boundary.
- Miners in the area said the Kwale County government has been forcing them to pay mining taxes.
A new boundary dispute is brewing between Taita Taveta and Kwale counties.
This is after the two counties laid claim to the Kuranze mining zone which is home to several gemstone miners.
The two counties are also entangled in a boundary dispute over Macknon Road area, each claiming that it is within their boundary.
Residents and leaders of Taita Taveta County feel that the fresh claim is an act of aggression by their neighbours.
Miners in the area said the Kwale County government has been forcing them to pay mining taxes to their offices.
They also reported harassment by police officers and Kwale County officials if they fail to comply.
A gemstone miner, Japhet Mademu, said they are forced to travel for many hours to Kwale town to get mining permits.
“We all know Kuranze is in Taita Taveta County. We don’t know why our neighbours keep on poking us,” said Mr Mademu.
He said Taita Taveta County is not benefitting from the mining zone as all royalties are paid to the neighbouring county.
He urged leaders to resolve the dispute before it escalates into a bigger problem.
“We pay taxes yet we don’t get water, no access roads or even a health facility,” he said.
Another miner, Danson Mcharo, said the area has all along been known to be within Taita Taveta County.
He said leaders from both counties need solve the protracted boundary row which has now stretched to new areas.
“There are maps which clearly show the boundary. All we need is political goodwill from both sides,” he added.
Voi MP Jones Mlolwa said the area is within Voi Constituency, which is in Taita Taveta.
He said the county leadership will resolve the issue in order to ensure that the county does not lose an inch of its land.
“We’re working towards ensuring that this issue is resolved,” he said while responding to the miners.
In 2015, Taita Taveta County Assembly speaker Meshack Maghanga and Marungu MCA Paul Waweru were arrested as they led MCAs and local elders to put a sign post at Taru in Kinango.
They claimed that the county’s boundary extended beyond Taru town.
Taita Taveta County is facing similar disputes with Makueni at Mtito Andei and Kajiado at Rombo.
Recently, Senator Jones Mwaruma said he had convened a meeting with a committee involving elders and politicians from all its neighbours to resolve the boundary disputes facing the county.