, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6 – By the end of 2007, there were as many of them as there were people infected with malaria and twice as many as there were refugees. They are what the international community calls the ‘internally displaced’.
Although forced by the aftermath of the Post election violence to flee their homes, they remain displaced in their own country.
Up to 90 percent of them were women and children. Indeed this brings to the fore the old adage that factually states that it is the men who make the wars with women and children being the recipients of the short end of the stick.
And to make matters worse, displaced women bore the constant brunt of rape during this tumultuous period.
Now nearly two years after the aftermath of the country’s presidential election in the country, the lifestyles of the IDPs have changed completely. Although some are back to their scarred land, it will take a mammoth task to build what they initially had.
For some however, life will never be the same again as they still reside in IDP camps in Eldoret.
However, according to Special Programmes Mitigation and Resettlement Director Wilfred Ndolo, each and every IDP has been resettled in their land.
Q : Have all the Internally displaced people be resettled?
A : Yes, We started first by making sure that those who were in the main camps go back to their farms by putting the right infrastructure which included the security and the provision of water which was lacking.
Q : What is being done to assist the resettled families in the transition process?
A : We are undergoing the rehabilitation of schools and other infrastructure destroyed during post election violence and so far we have rehabilitated about 10 schools in the Rift Valley.
Q : How about the IDPs still camped at the Eldoret showground?
A : Those who are still camped at the Eldoret showground were landless before the clashes and so had nowhere to go. It is normal internationally to have a residue of those who are landless and those who are hawkers and doing small businesses and they are not willing to go anywhere until the government gives them land.
Q : There have been concerns about the criteria used to vet those who are to benefit from the programme. What can you say about that?
A : The process followed in the resettlement process was air tight. Those who were to be paid Sh10,000 were those who decided to go back to their farms and the Chief, the Assistant Chief and the village elders know whose farm belongs to that person.
In Mai Mahiu Nyandarua, we have transported 14,000 people and they bought their pieces of land and we are building houses for them. They are comfortable.
Q : How much has the government spent in the resettlement process?
A : The government has already spent more than Sh1.5 billion in compensation for the over 600,000 refugees, while development agencies have helped rebuild close to 4,000 houses.
At least 119,459 family heads are registered as having lost their homes in the skirmishes that also resulted in about 1,500 deaths.
Q : What is your advice to Kenyans as a whole regarding this whole resettlement process?
A : Kenyans are good people, they only need to see leaders of various tribes being together and talking the same language, and they will follow. I have also held meetings with legislators to see how we can hasten the rebuilding process and we will do all we can to ensure that every one resettles back to their way of life.