Kenya-Tanzania border demarcation exercise underway – Kenya News Agency
The governments of Kenya and Tanzania are hosting a series of awareness forums for members of the public living along the shared border as the two countries embark on a joint exercise to reaffirm their shared border.
Speaking at a public participation forum in Mausa region in South Narok Sub-county, Narok County Commissioner Evans Achoki said the purpose of the border reaffirmation was to s’ ensure that the border was visibly marked on the ground by erecting border posts.
The pillars, he said, will be erected at a distance of 250 meters and 500 meters to mark the boundaries of the respective territory.
Achoki said local communities will be involved in the reaffirmation exercise as they will be responsible for providing labor and building materials for the pillars.
“We want to fully involve the community in the construction of the pillars so that they can earn an income and take care of the pillars afterwards. One side of the pillar will be marked ‘KE’ representing the Republic of Kenya while the other side facing Tanzania will be marked ‘TZ’, ”he said.
The county commissioner was accompanied by officers from the Kenya International Boundaries Office (KIBO), senior county security officials and land officials from the Tanzanian side.
Achoki reiterated that the community is supposed to take care of the pillars to ensure they are not destroyed.
Further, the county commissioner assured residents that the border did not prevent them from their usual interactions, but was only set to mark the clear border of territory between the two countries.
“The residents will continue to marry each other, trade and do other business as usual. The reaffirmation exercise does not disrupt the lifestyles of border communities, ”he reiterated.
A Kenya International Boundaries Office surveyor, Mr. Joseph Rotich, said the pillars will be constructed using iron rods, tie wire, cement, sand and ballast, saying there will be no will have no minerals hidden under the border pillars.
“The pillars will be painted white for visibility purposes, but the pillars in Maasai Mara Serengeti National Park will not be painted but kept in natural colors to blend in with the surroundings,” he said.
He said engaging the community in the building process is important because it will help them directly witness the process of creating the boundaries and eliminate the belief that it contains minerals such as mercury and others.
Deputy Director of the Department of Surveys, Ms. Lucy Mburu, said the process involves border maintenance and will start from Lake Victoria to the Indian Ocean for a distance of around 760 kilometers.
The reaffirmation process, she said, involves re-establishing destroyed boundary markers, building landmarks where there are none, and drafting a new agreement to replace the old colonial accord.
The exercise also collects information on geographic names, features and utilities from a two-kilometer coverage on both sides of the border.
Joseph Mutorongo, a land officer from the United Republic of Tanzania, said the two countries will work together to ensure the exercise runs smoothly.
The residents pledged to cooperate to make the process a success and praised the government for giving them the chance to participate in the making of the pillars.
By Ann Salaton