Kenya: Marsabit Leaders Urge More Talks Over KDF Base Plan

23 January 2020

Local leaders and residents of Karare Ward in Marsabit County have expressed concerns over the proposed establishment of a military base in the area.

They have instead called for conclusive consultation with both the county and national governments since a section of the parcel being eyed is considered ancestral land.

The Ministry of Defence had requested the Marsabit County Government to allocate it a 10-square kilometre piece of land for establishment of a camp for the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) between Karare and Parkishon areas.

Speaking during a public participation meeting about the proposed camp at Karare Trading Centre yesterday, a number of key community elders raised concerns over the size of land required for the camp.

"The proposed 10-square kilometre piece of land in our opinion is too big. Additionally, we wouldn't allow the sections of the land that have for a long time venerated as shrines to be taken away from us," former Karare MCA Mark Argelle said.

While speaking to the Nation after the meeting, Marsabit County Commissioner Evans Achoki explained that the residents wanted an elaborate consultation about the agreeable size of land to be given to KDF.

"Exhaustive consultations are still ongoing and basing on the sensitivity of security matters, we would wish to strike a common deal that will leave both parties involved satisfied with the outcome," he said.

He explained that locals had also proposed that a similar public participation meeting be held by Ministry officials with people in Songa, Loglogo, Shurr and Jaldesa areas.

Mr Achoki said a section of the land is treated by the residents as ancestral land and had a shrine which they wish was left undisturbed.

He listed enhanced security, improved infrastructure and more job opportunities as some of the benefits that will accompany the new base.

The administrator also held that there would be free flow of essential goods into the area as a result of pitching up the camp.

Local leaders who attended the meeting include Deputy Governor Solomon Gubo, Saku MP Rasso Dido and area MCA Stephen Leado who lauded the Ministry for engaging locals in talks.

They said they were optimistic that all parties would strike a deal.

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