The fighting along the Sotik-Borabu Border is owed to conflicting territorial claims by the Kipsigis and the Kisii. These have festered for decades unresolved and have continued to breed mistrust, animosity, and even hatred between the two communities.
Any number of reasons can spark a violent conflict, but most commonly it's cross-border livestock theft that strikes an effective match.
The Kipsigis argue that the land comprising Borabu district is their ancestral land. They claim that they lost it when the Europeans forcibly acquired it during the colonial times to establish White highlands.
At independence, the Kisii, kipsigis, and the Maasai were given the opportunity to buy the land at the White highlands partly forming the present border area between the Kipsigis and the Kisii. They bought the land from the departing Colonial Settlers through an arrangement facilitated by the Settlement Fund Trustee.
The Kisiis were the greatest beneficiaries of the settlement Schemes among the three communities, because of their higher population density. The Kisii continued to buy land directly in Bomet and Narok, which explains their significant presence in those areas.
The rivalry between the two communities predates the colonial era, and this rivalry gets passed down through folklore from generation to generation by both the Kisii and the Kipsigis, each side exalting their own valiant exploits against the other.
Since independence the Kipsigis have launched several ambitious campaigns, to recover what they perceive as their ancesral land. They launched major attacks against the Kisii in 1964, 1969, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2007. Their goal is to push the Kisii deep to a place called Meta Maywa.
Electioneering plays a great role in spurring the skirmishes as Kalenjin politicians fray the nerves and heighten tension on the land issue with populist rhetoric. They would often question, if there are any Kalenjins who have bought land in the Kisii area; and follow to wonder why they should continue offering their hospitality when they are not being reciprocated.
On the other hand the Kisii claim that their ancestral land extends from Borabu up to a place called Kabianga, in Kericho district. They say that Kabianga is a Kisii name, which is evidence enough that the Kisii were the first occupants of the area.