Addressing Marginalization in Laikipia County: Challenges and Proposed Solutions

By Ronald Ng’eno

A team from the Commission, led by Commissioner Dr. Isabel Waiyaki, met with Laikipia County Governor Joshua Irungu and other county officials to discuss the pressing issue of marginalization in the county.

Governor Irungu emphasized that Laikipia County covers an extensive area of 9,500 km2, surpassing the former Central Province. However, despite having 22 conservancies, the county does not directly benefit from the taxes associated with them.

Laikipia County Governor H. E. Joshua Irungu (fifth left) meeting with CRA Team led by Commissioner Dr Isabel Waiyaki (fourth left)

Causes of Marginalization in Laikipia

Governor Irungu identified several factors contributing to the marginalization in Laikipia County. These include insecurity, an arid climate leading to food insecurity, historical development disparities, and geographical challenges. Security concerns consume a significant portion of the county’s budget, hindering development efforts. Moreover, the county lacks major water projects, exacerbating food insecurity. Historically, development in Laikipia favored towns at the county’s edges, neglecting the interior. The vastness of the county also poses challenges for providing essential infrastructure such as roads, water, and electricity.

Administrative and Political Boundary Issues

During a courtesy call with Laikipia County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri, the Commission team discussed administrative challenges arising from differences in administrative and political boundaries. For instance, Sigera Ward falls under both Laikipia North and Laikipia East sub-counties.

The County Commissioner highlighted several sublocations in Laikipia facing significant marginalization. These areas suffer from low education levels, inadequate health facilities, climate change-induced drought, poor road networks, limited electricity connectivity, challenging terrain, insecurity, and a nomadic lifestyle.

The 19 sublocations in need of attention are listed, along with their total population:

#ConstituencyWard LocationSub LocationTotal Population
1Laikipia NorthSosianLonyekKariwo2615
2Laikipia NorthMukogodo EastSiekuSieku1220
3Laikipia WestSalamaThomeMathira3003
4Laikipia NorthSosianOloiborsoitKirimon8939
5Laikipia NorthSosianSosianMaundu Meri8990
6Laikipia NorthSosianLonyekLonyek5102
7Laikipia NorthMukogodo WestMumonyotSeek2366
8Laikipia NorthMukogodo WestOloiborsoitEwaso3359
9Laikipia NorthMukogodo WestMumonyotMumonyot1898
10Laikipia NorthMukogodo WestIlmotiokIlmotiok2882
11Laikipia NorthMukogodo EastIlngwesiSanga786
12Laikipia NorthSegeraMuramatiKimugandura2458
13Laikipia NorthMukogodo EastMakurianMakurian2230
14Laikipia WestSalamaThomeThome8348
15Laikipia NorthMukogodo WestIldigiriTura3050
16Laikipia NorthMukogodo EastMakurianArjijo785
17Laikipia NorthMukogodo EastMukogodoKuri Kuri3584
18Laikipia NorthSegeraSegeraSegera7766
19Laikipia WestSalamaMutaraMutara3536

Commissioner Dr Isabel Waiyaki (right) hands over a copy of the Second Policy to Laikipia County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri

Proposed Solutions

To address the issue of marginalization, Governor Irungu proposed various measures. These include:

  • Increasing Laikipia County’s revenue share
  • Allowing revenue collection from military and British camps
  • Seeking National Government support in establishing basic infrastructure
  • Constructing dams
  • Establishing the county headquarters in Rumuruti for improved service accessibility
  • Addressing security concerns.

The County Commissioner on his part, suggested the following solutions:

  • Implementing boarding schools in pastoral areas
  • Deploying more teachers
  • Improving electricity connectivity
  • Establishing cottage industries
  • Utilizing the River Ewaso Nyiro for irrigation
  • Constructing dams in water-scarce parts of the county as ways to combat marginalization.

Insights from Focus Group Discussions

Residents of Ilmotiok, Kimugandura, Thome, and Nkilois areas shared their challenges during focus group discussions. These included issues of water scarcity, lack of education infrastructure, insufficient healthcare facilities, electricity and telecommunication network coverage, and poor road conditions.

CRA Team at a water pan in Ilmotiok, in Mukogodo West Ward, Laikipia North Constituency

Addressing the Marginalization

It is evident that Laikipia County faces significant challenges in addressing marginalization. The proposed solutions put forward by the Governor and County Commissioner aim to tackle these issues comprehensively.

For more information about the discussions between the Commission and the Laikipia County Governor, watch the video here: Governor Irungu calls for increased funding in equitable share allocation for marginalised Laikipia – YouTube

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