MP faults Kenya IDP relocation

October 12, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara on Monday accused the government of failing to adequately resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country.

In an interview with Capital News, Mr Imanyara said many IDPs were still not re-settled since some of them moved in with relatives or charity organisations – a factor that the government had ignored. He also said those in camps had all not left, as claimed by the government.

“The government continues to perpetrate the lie that we have resettled, we have not resettled! There has not been sufficient funding and the government continues to go out with a begging bowl to the international community to ask for money to resettle (the IDPs),” he said.

“As half-hearted as it is, impunity in the form of corruption has even taken over the re-settlement programme.”

The backbench MP further said it was unfair for the government to force the displaced persons out of the camps yet they had not been given adequate support for their relocation.

Mr Imanyara described the act “as unkind.”

“If there was genuine re-settlement, there was no need for the use of police.  Why use police to remove displaced people out of camps, why the force?” he wondered.

The lawyer also alleged that the Sh35,000 supposed to be given to the IDPs was being directed to the wrong people. He said despite being insufficient, the government was not keen enough to ensure the money got to the genuine people.

“It is going to administration officials who are changing the list and giving it to the wrong people,” he said.

Mr Imanyara emphasised on the need for the government to consider their security and status of where they were relocating to, and not just physical eviction for the sake of being seen to be resettling them.

The lawyer regretted that displaced persons under the prevailing circumstances could not sue the government since there was no legislation in place. But he said he had considered that factor in his Special Tribunal Bill.

The Bill provides for the appointment of a special magistrate to conduct hearings and identify victims and determine their compensation. He said the provision remained very relevant especially under the current situation where IDPs were being relocated forcibly.

“It is now brought into sharp focus by what is happening – forceful displacement is not resettlement,” he said.

Mr Imanyara said if there was a mechanism in law, the IDPs could have challenged the government’s assertion that they had been offered sufficient compensation to move out of the camps.

President Mwai Kibaki two weeks ago directed the government to re-settle all IDPs by last Friday. Despite the ultimatum, some of the IDPs refused to leave their camps, forcing the government to send police officers to evict them from the Eldoret show ground.

By Monday, the IDPs were camping in a street near a church in Eldoret.

The government has maintained that it has given each of the IDPs money to relocate.


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