Development of the Third Marginalization Policy: CRA identifies 13 sublocations as marginalised in Meru County

By Ronald Ng’eno

The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) has listed 13 sublocations in Meru County as marginalised. A team from the Commission led by Dr. Isabel Waiyaki further visited some of the listed marginalised sublocations in Meru County from April 24 – 26, 2023 to appreciate the extent of deprivation and validate the data presented in the draft Third Policy and Criteria for Sharing Revenue Among Marginalised Areas.

CRA is mandated to determine, publish and regularly review a policy in which it sets out the criteria by which to identify the marginalised areas for purposes of the Equalisation Fund (under Article 216(4) of the Constitution of Kenya). The draft Third Policy is based on the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census data.

The Equalisation Fund is a national government fund that aims to improve communities’ access to basic services like water, roads, health facilities, electricity and basic education in marginalized areas.

Discovering Marginalised Areas in Meru County
The CRA delegation paid a courtesy call to the Meru County Commissioner, Fredrick Ndung’a, to discuss the proposed marginalised areas in the County. During the meeting, the Commission explained that the number of listed marginalized areas in Meru County had increased from five in the Second Policy to 13 in the proposed Third Policy.

CRA Team led by Commissioner Dr Isabel Waiyaki (center) at the office of the Meru County Commissioner Fredrick Ndung’a (Third left)

In the Second Policy, the following five marginalised areas were identified in Meru County:

  Constituency Ward Sub Location
1. Igembe South Akachiu Ugoti
2. Igembe South Akachiu Marega
3. South Imenti Abogeta East Igokine
4. Tigania East Karama Kamberia
5. Tigania East Muthara Turingwi

The 13 areas in Meru County identified as marginalised in the Third Policy are:

No. Constituency Ward Location Sub Location
1. Igembe North Amwathi Mburanjiru Nginyo
2. Igembe North Amwathi Amwathi Kachuru
3. Igembe South Kanuni Kiguru Nkiene
4. Igembe South Kanuni Kiguru Antuambui
5. Tigania East Muthara Kiambogo Kiambogo
6. Tigania East Muthara Gambela Gambela
7. Tigania East Muthara Gambela Chumbiri
8. Tigania East Thangatha Igurune Igurune
9. Tigania East Karama Mula Kamberia
10. Tigania East Muthara Amuthumba Kisile
11. Tigania East Thangatha Thangatha Ikana
12. Tigania East Thangatha Thangatha Kunati
13. Tigania East Thangatha Gatithine Ngatune

Meru: A County of contrasts
While commending CRA’s methodology for identifying marginalized areas, the County Commissioner elucidated the contrasting conditions in Meru County – some regions are fertile and receivee ample rainfall, while others, particularly those bordering Isiolo County, are predominantly dry and marginalized in terms of access to basic services.

Mr. Ndung’a highlighted security concerns along the borders and suggested that the Commission examines additional areas like the drought-affected Mutuati subcounty in Igembe North Constituency, for possible inclusion in the Third Policy. He further proposed that the Commission leverages on the County Government’s data alongside national data for a comprehensive identification process.

Engagement with the Meru County Deputy Governor
The Commission also had a courteous meeting with the Deputy Governor of Meru, H.E. Mutuma M’Ethingia on the proposed marginalised areas in the County. The Deputy Governor highlighted climate change as one of the root causes of marginalization in the region. Climatic changes have negatively impacted agriculture, and increased food insecurity and conflicts due to water scarcity. Due to high illiteracy levels, residents have poor attitudes toward agriculture and limited awareness of county government initiatives.

The Deputy Governor also proposed the use of county government data alongside national data and highlighted the county’s efforts to grow its own-source revenue. He further recommended consideration of Ntubuuri and Nkando in Kiirwa Ward, the dry areas in Buuri constituency, and Ndujuruma area in Kiago Ward, Imenti Central constituency in the Third Policy.

Validating marginalized areas in Meru County
The CRA team conducted visits to various marginalized areas in Meru County to validate the regions proposed for inclusion in the Third Policy Identifying Marginalised Areas. Through focused group discussions, the Commission gathered insights from local leaders about the community’s challenges in accessing basic services such as water, healthcare, roads and electricity.

Some notable areas visited include:
a) Kashiuru sublocation in Igembe North Constituency
The main challenge facing this sublocation is the lack of accessible water. Residents are forced to purchase water due to the absence of nearby rivers and the salinity of borehole water.

Focus Group Discussion in Kashiuru, Amwathi Ward, Igembe North Constituency, Meru County

b) Kunati sublocation in Tigania East Constituency
Poor road infrastructure poses a significant challenge in this area. During the rainy season, some parts of the sublocation become inaccessible, hindering access to healthcare facilities. Pregnant women must be carried to hospitals as the roads are impassable even for motorbikes.

CRA Vehicle got stuck in Kunati area of Thangatha Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru County

c) Ikana in Tigania East Constituency
The team engaged with residents in the Ikana sublocation, where the poor road system and its impact on water access were identified as major challenges. Residents must travel 2 km in search of water, a task that takes hours due to the road’s condition.

Poor roads in Ikana sublocation, Thangatha Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru County

d) Lakathi in Igembe South
The team was unable to reach the Lakathi area due to a flooded seasonal river that severed the road. However, discussions with residents revealed the lack of a health facility and water scarcity as the main challenges. Patients have to travel over 20 km to reach the nearest hospital in Maua subcounty.

Flooded seasonal river in Lakathi sublocation, Igembe South Constituency. CRA Team was unable to cross the river and had to turn back.

View more on CRA’s visit to Meru  County:

Tume ya CRA yaomba serikali yaomba serikali za kaunti kuboresha vyanzo vyao vya mapato – YouTube

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